[ sahl-suh; Spanish sahl-sah ]
/ ˈsɑl sə; Spanish ˈsɑl sɑ /


a lively, vigorous type of contemporary Latin American popular music, blending predominantly Cuban rhythms with elements of jazz, rock, and soul music.
a ballroom dance of Puerto Rican origin, performed to this music, similar to the mambo, but faster with the accent on the first beat instead of the second beat of each measure.
Mexican Cookery. a sauce, especially a hot sauce containing chilies.

verb (used without object)

to dance the salsa.

Nearby words

  1. salpingoplasty,
  2. salpingorrhaphy,
  3. salpingostomy,
  4. salpingotomy,
  5. salpinx,
  6. salsa verde,
  7. salsify,
  8. salt,
  9. salt away,
  10. salt bath

Origin of salsa

1970–75; < American Spanish, Spanish: literally, sauce; probably so called orig. because of its mixture of styles Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for salsa

British Dictionary definitions for salsa


/ (ˈsælsə) /


a type of Latin American big-band dance music
a dance performed to this kind of music
Mexican cookery a spicy tomato-based sauce

Word Origin for salsa

C20: from Spanish: sauce

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 salsa



kind of sauce, 1846; kind of dance music, 1975, from Spanish, literally "sauce," from Vulgar Latin *salsa "condiment" (see sauce (n.)). In American Spanish especially used of a kind of relish with chopped-up ingredients; the music so called from its blend of Latin jazz and rock styles.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper