a shaker or dish for salt.

Origin of saltcellar

1400–50; salt1 + cellar, for earlier saler saltcellar, late Middle English < Old French saliere < Latin salāria, noun use of feminine of salārius (adj.) pertaining to salt, equivalent to sal salt1 + -ārius -ary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for salt-cellar

Historical Examples of salt-cellar

  • Nalboon turned to Seaton, plainly asking for the salt-cellar.

    The Skylark of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby

  • Dont dip your meat in the salt-cellar, or put your knife in your mouth.

  • I have begged to be allowed to pour out my own glass of beer and to reach my own salt-cellar.

    A Sheaf of Corn

    Mary E. Mann

  • The second part of salt-cellar is not the same word as in wine-cellar.

  • This salt-cellar acted as a barometer, not for weather, but for rank.

    A Forgotten Hero

    Emily Sarah Holt

British Dictionary definitions for salt-cellar



a small container for salt used at the table
British informal either of the two hollows formed above the collarbones of very slim people

Word Origin for saltcellar

changed (through influence of cellar) from C15 salt saler; saler from Old French saliere container for salt, from Latin salārius belonging to salt, from sal salt
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 salt-cellar

mid-15c., from salt (n.) + saler "salt-cellar" (14c.), from Old French salier "salt box" (Modern French salière), from Latin salarium, noun use of adjective meaning "pertaining to salt," from a diminutive of Latin sal "salt." As the connection between *saler and "salt" was lost, salt- was tacked on to the beginning; second element altered on model of cellar.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper