[ sawlt ]
See synonyms for salt on
  1. a crystalline compound, sodium chloride, NaCl, occurring as a mineral, a constituent of seawater, etc., and used for seasoning food, as a preservative, etc.

  2. table salt mixed with a particular herb or seasoning for which it is named: garlic salt;celery salt.

  1. 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.

  2. salts, any of various salts used as purgatives, as Epsom salts.

  3. an element that gives liveliness, piquancy, or pungency: Anecdotes are the salt of his narrative.

  4. wit; pungency.

  5. a small, usually open dish, as of silver or glass, used on the table for holding salt.

  6. 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.

verb (used with object)
  1. to season with salt.

  2. to cure, preserve, or treat with salt.

  1. to furnish with salt: to salt cattle.

  2. to treat with common salt or with any chemical salt.

  3. to spread salt, especially rock salt, on so as to melt snow or ice: The highway department salted the roads after the storm.

  4. 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.

  5. to add interest or excitement to: a novel salted with witty dialogue.

  1. containing salt; having the taste of salt: salt water.

  2. cured or preserved with salt: salt cod.

  1. inundated by or growing in salt water: salt marsh.

  2. producing the one of the four basic taste sensations that is not sweet, sour, or bitter.

  3. pungent or sharp: salt speech.

Verb Phrases
  1. 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.

  2. salt out, to separate (a dissolved substance) from a solution by the addition of a salt, especially common salt.

Idioms about salt

  1. rub salt in / into someone's wounds, to make someone's bad situation even worse.

  2. 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.

  1. worth one's salt, deserving of one's wages or salary: We couldn't find an assistant worth her salt.

Origin of salt

First recorded before 900; Middle English; noun and adjective salt, salte, zalt, Old English sealt; cognate with German Salz, Old Norse, Gothic salt, all from Germanic saltam; akin to Latin sal, Greek háls, Slavic (Polish ) sol-, Celtic (Irish ) salann ; Middle English verb salten, Old English saltan, sealtan; compare Old High German salzan, Old Norse salta, Dutch zouten; akin to Latin sallere “to sprinkle with salt”; see also halo-, salary, sauce

synonym study For salt

8. See sailor.

Other words for salt

Other words from salt

  • saltlike, adjective

Words Nearby salt

Other definitions for salt (2 of 3)

[ sawlt ]

  1. lustful; lecherous.

Origin of salt

First recorded in 1515–25; by shortening and alteration of assaut, Middle English a sawt, from Middle French a saut “on the jump,” from a- a-5 + saut “a jump,” from Latin saltus, equivalent to sal(īre) “to jump” + -tus suffix of verbal action; see also halter2, salacious

Other definitions for SALT (3 of 3)

[ sawlt ] Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use salt in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for salt (1 of 2)


/ (sɔːlt) /

  1. a white powder or colourless crystalline solid, consisting mainly of sodium chloride and used for seasoning and preserving food

  2. (modifier) preserved in, flooded with, containing, or growing in salt or salty water: salt pork; salt marshes

  1. 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

  2. liveliness or pungency: his wit added salt to the discussion

  3. dry or laconic wit

  4. a sailor, esp one who is old and experienced

  5. short for saltcellar

  6. rub salt into someone's wounds to make someone's pain, shame, etc, even worse

  7. salt of the earth a person or group of people regarded as the finest of their kind

  8. with a grain of salt or with a pinch of salt with reservations; sceptically

  9. worth one's salt efficient; worthy of one's pay

  1. to season or preserve with salt

  2. to scatter salt over (an icy road, path, etc) to melt the ice

  1. to add zest to

  2. (often foll by down or away) to preserve or cure with salt or saline solution

  3. chem to treat with common salt or other chemical salt

  4. to provide (cattle, etc) with salt

  5. to give a false appearance of value to, esp to introduce valuable ore fraudulently into (a mine, sample, etc)

  1. not sour, sweet, or bitter; salty

  2. obsolete rank or lascivious (esp in the phrase a salt wit)

Origin of salt

Old English sealt; related to Old Norse, Gothic salt, German Salz, Lettish sāls, Latin sāl, Greek hals

Derived forms of salt

  • saltish, adjective
  • saltless, adjective
  • saltlike, adjective
  • saltness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for SALT (2 of 2)


/ (sɔːlt) /

n acronym for
  1. Strategic Arms Limitation Talks or Treaty

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

Scientific definitions for salt


[ sôlt ]

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for salt


In chemistry, a compound resulting from the combination of an acid and a base, which neutralize each other.

Notes for salt

Common table salt is sodium chloride.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with salt


In addition to the idioms beginning with salt

  • salt away
  • salt of the earth, the

also see:

  • back to the salt mines
  • with a grain of salt

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.