- a crystalline compound, sodium chloride, NaCl, occurring as a mineral, a constituent of seawater, etc., and used for seasoning food, as a preservative, etc.
- table salt mixed with a particular herb or seasoning for which it is named: garlic salt; celery salt.
- Chemistry. any of a class of compounds formed by the replacement of one or more hydrogen atoms of an acid with elements or groups, which are composed of anions and cations, and which usually ionize in solution; a product formed by the neutralization of an acid by a base.
- salts, any of various salts used as purgatives, as Epsom salts.
- an element that gives liveliness, piquancy, or pungency: Anecdotes are the salt of his narrative.
- wit; pungency.
- a small, usually open dish, as of silver or glass, used on the table for holding salt.
- Informal. a sailor, especially an old or experienced one: He's an old salt who'll be happy to tell you about his years at sea.
- to season with salt.
- to cure, preserve, or treat with salt.
- to furnish with salt: to salt cattle.
- to treat with common salt or with any chemical salt.
- to spread salt, especially rock salt, on so as to melt snow or ice: The highway department salted the roads after the storm.
- to introduce rich ore or other valuable matter fraudulently into (a mine, the ground, a mineral sample, etc.) to create a false impression of value.
- to add interest or excitement to: a novel salted with witty dialogue.
- containing salt; having the taste of salt: salt water.
- cured or preserved with salt: salt cod.
- inundated by or growing in salt water: salt marsh.
- producing the one of the four basic taste sensations that is not sweet, sour, or bitter.
- pungent or sharp: salt speech.
- salt away,
- Also salt down.to preserve by adding quantities of salt to, as meat.
- Informal.to keep in reserve; store away; save: to salt away most of one's earnings.
- salt out, to separate (a dissolved substance) from a solution by the addition of a salt, especially common salt.
- rub salt in/into someone's wounds, to make someone's bad situation even worse.
- with a grain/pinch of salt, with reserve or allowance; with an attitude of skepticism: Diplomats took the reports of an impending crisis with a grain of salt.
- worth one's salt, deserving of one's wages or salary: We couldn't find an assistant worth her salt.
Origin of salt1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for salt on Thesaurus.com
less commonly salt down
- (tr, adverb) to hoard or save (money, valuables, etc)
- Strategic Arms Limitation Talks or Treaty
- a white powder or colourless crystalline solid, consisting mainly of sodium chloride and used for seasoning and preserving food
- (modifier) preserved in, flooded with, containing, or growing in salt or salty watersalt pork; salt marshes
- chem any of a class of usually crystalline solid compounds that are formed from, or can be regarded as formed from, an acid and a base by replacement of one or more hydrogen atoms in the acid molecules by positive ions from the base
- liveliness or pungencyhis wit added salt to the discussion
- dry or laconic wit
- a sailor, esp one who is old and experienced
- short for saltcellar
- rub salt into someone's wounds to make someone's pain, shame, etc, even worse
- salt of the earth a person or group of people regarded as the finest of their kind
- with a grain of salt or with a pinch of salt with reservations; sceptically
- worth one's salt efficient; worthy of one's pay
- to season or preserve with salt
- to scatter salt over (an icy road, path, etc) to melt the ice
- to add zest to
- (often foll by down or away) to preserve or cure with salt or saline solution
- chem to treat with common salt or other chemical salt
- to provide (cattle, etc) with salt
- to give a false appearance of value to, esp to introduce valuable ore fraudulently into (a mine, sample, etc)
- not sour, sweet, or bitter; salty
- obsolete rank or lascivious (esp in the phrase a salt wit)
Word Origin and History for salt away
Old English sealt "salt" (n.; also as an adjective, "salty, briny"), from Proto-Germanic *saltom (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian, Gothic salt, Dutch zout, German Salz), from PIE *sal- "salt" (cf. Greek hals "salt, sea," Latin sal, Old Church Slavonic soli, Old Irish salann, Welsh halen "salt").
Modern chemistry sense is from 1790. Meaning "experienced sailor" is first attested 1840, in reference to the salinity of the sea. Salt was long regarded as having power to repel spiritual and magical evil. Many metaphoric uses reflect that this was once a rare and important resource, e.g. worth one's salt (1830), salt of the earth (Old English, after Matt. v:13). Belief that spilling salt brings bad luck is attested from 16c. To be above (or below) the salt (1590s) refers to customs of seating at a long table according to rank or honor, and placing a large salt-cellar in the middle of the dining table.
Salt-lick first recorded 1751; salt-marsh is Old English sealtne mersc; salt-shaker is from 1882. Salt-and-pepper "of dark and light color" first recorded 1915. To take something with a grain of salt is from 1640s, from Modern Latin cum grano salis.
Cold War U.S.-U.S.S.R. nuclear weapons negotiations, 1968, acronym for Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (which would make SALT talks redundant, but the last element sometimes also is understood as treaty).
Old English sealtan, from Proto-Germanic *salto- (see salt (n.)), and in part from the noun. Related: Salted; salting.
- A colorless or white crystalline solid, chiefly sodium chloride, used extensively as a food seasoning and preservative.
- A chemical compound replacing all or part of the hydrogen ions of an acid with metal ions or electropositive radicals.
- salts Any of various mineral salts, such as magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfate, or potassium sodium tartrate, used as laxatives or cathartics.
- salts Smelling salts.
- salts Epsom salts.
- Any of a large class of chemical compounds formed when a positively charged ion (a cation) bonds with a negatively charged ion (an anion), as when a halogen bonds with a metal. Salts are water soluble; when dissolved, the ions are freed from each other, and the electrical conductivity of the water is increased. See more at complex salt double salt simple salt.
- A colorless or white crystalline salt in which a sodium atom (the cation) is bonded to a chlorine atom (the anion). This salt is found naturally in all animal fluids, in seawater, and in underground deposits (when it is often called halite). It is used widely as a food seasoning and preservative. Also called common salt, sodium chloride, table salt. Chemical formula: NaCl.
Idioms and Phrases with salt away
Also, salt down. Keep in reserve, store, save, as in He salted away most of his earnings in a bank account. This idiom alludes to using salt as a food preservative. [Mid-1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with salt
- salt away
- salt of the earth, the
- back to the salt mines
- with a grain of salt