[ sawlt-sel-er ]
/ ˈsɔltˌsɛl ər /


a shaker or dish for salt.

Nearby words

  1. saltatory conduction,
  2. saltatory evolution,
  3. saltatory spasm,
  4. saltbox,
  5. saltbush,
  6. saltchuck,
  7. saltchucker,
  8. salteaux,
  9. salted,
  10. salten

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

British Dictionary definitions for salt-cellar


/ (ˈsɔːltˌsɛlə) /


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