[sey-lee-uhnt, seyl-yuhnt]


prominent or conspicuous: salient traits.
projecting or pointing outward: a salient angle.
leaping or jumping: a salient animal.
Heraldry. (of a beast) represented as leaping: a lion salient.


a salient angle or part, as the central outward-projecting angle of a bastion or an outward projection in a battle line.
Physical Geography. a landform that extends out beyond its surroundings, as a spur projecting from the side of a mountain.Compare reentrant(def 4).

Origin of salient

1555–65; < Latin salient- (stem of saliēns, present participle of salīre to spring, jump), equivalent to sali- verb stem + -ent- -ent
Related formssa·li·ent·ly, adverbun·sa·li·ent, adjectiveun·sa·li·ent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for salient

Antonyms for salient Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for salient

British Dictionary definitions for salient



prominent, conspicuous, or strikinga salient feature
(esp in fortifications) projecting outwards at an angle of less than 180°Compare re-entrant (def. 1)
geometry (of an angle) pointing outwards from a polygon and hence less than 180°Compare re-entrant (def. 2)
(esp of animals) leaping


military a projection of the forward line into enemy-held territory
a salient angle
Derived Formssalience or saliency, nounsaliently, adverb

Word Origin for salient

C16: from Latin salīre to leap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for salient

1560s, "leaping," a heraldic term, from Latin salientem (nominative saliens), present participle of salire "to leap," from PIE root *sel- (4) "to jump" (cf. Greek hallesthai "to leap," Middle Irish saltraim "I trample," and probably Sanskrit ucchalati "rises quickly").

It was used in Middle English as an adjective meaning "leaping, skipping." The meaning "pointing outward" (preserved in military usage) is from 1680s; that of "prominent, striking" first recorded 1840, from salient point (1670s), which refers to the heart of an embryo, which seems to leap, and translates Latin punctum saliens, going back to Aristotle's writings. Hence, the "starting point" of anything.


1828, from salient (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper