[ sawl-tee ]
/ ˈsɔl ti /
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See synonyms for: salty / saltiness on Thesaurus.com

adjective, salt·i·er, salt·i·est.
tasting of or containing salt; saline.
racy or coarse: salty humor.
of the sea, sailing, or life at sea: salty tales of adventure on the high seas.
Slang. (especially of a sailor) toughened by experience: proud and salty Marines.
Slang. angry, upset, or hostile, especially due to embarrassment or failure:He gets all salty whenever he loses.
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Origin of salty

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English; see origin at salt1, -y1


salt·i·ly, adverbsalt·i·ness, nouno·ver·salt·y, adjectiveun·salt·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does salty mean?

Salty is a slang term for irritated, angry, or resentful, especially as a result of losing or being slighted. This sense of salty originates in and was popularized by Black English.

Where does salty come from?

The term salty has a long history of slang meanings, probably because of its association with sailors. In the 1860s, salty was a synonym for “racy” or “vulgar,” also a likely connection to (the popular reputation of) sailors.

By the 1920s–30s, salty is recorded in Black English as jump salty, meaning to become suddenly angry. The phrase jump salty stuck around well into the 1960s.

Owing in part to the influence of Black English on popular culture, salty has spread in the mainstream vernacular as a slang term for “bitter” and “upset,” e.g., He was salty I didn’t invite him to the party.

How is salty used in real life?

People who use the slang version of salty often use it to describe someone who is bitter or reacting sourly (emotions love taste metaphors) to something that made them upset—say, losing in a video game. And speaking of losing, slang terms or expressions that have a similar sense to salty include sore loser and butthurt.


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use salty in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for salty

/ (ˈsɔːltɪ) /

adjective saltier or saltiest
of, tasting of, or containing salt
(esp of humour) sharp; piquant
relating to life at sea

Derived forms of salty

saltily, adverbsaltiness, noun
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