[ sal-yuh-tey-shuhn ]
/ ˌsæl yəˈteɪ ʃən /
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See synonyms for: salutation / salutations on Thesaurus.com

the act of saluting.
something uttered, written, or done by way of saluting.
a word or phrase serving as the prefatory greeting in a letter or speech, as Dear Sir in a letter or Ladies and Gentlemen in a speech.
Test how much you really know about regular and irregular plural nouns with this quiz.
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Which of the following nouns has an irregular plural form?

Origin of salutation

1350–1400; Middle English <Latin salūtātiōn- (stem of salūtātiō) greeting, equivalent to salūtāt(us) (past participle of salūtāre to greet; see salute, -ate1) + -iōn--ion


sal·u·ta·tion·al, adjectivesal·u·ta·tion·less, adjectivenon·sal·u·ta·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does salutation mean?

A salutation is a word, phrase, or gesture used as a greeting.

Most commonly, salutation refers to the introductory greeting in a letter or email (such as Dear Professor Smith), or the way you greet a person when you see them in real life (such as saying hello and shaking their hand). Salutations can be formal or informal. Less commonly, salutation refers to the action of saluting.

Example: To avoid spreading germs, many people are abandoning the traditional handshake in favor of salutations that don’t involve touching.

Where does salutation come from?

The word salutation derives from the Latin verb salūtāre, which means “to greet” and is also the basis for the word salute. The first records of salutation in English come from the late 1300s.

The salutation of a letter or email is the part where you address the person you’re writing to. Most commonly, this is done with the word Dear followed by the person’s name or title and a comma or a colon—as in Dear Jane, or Dear Dr. Jones:—but the possibilities are endless. Some are very informal (Hi,), while others are very formal (Esteemed colleagues,). (The part of a letter before you sign your name, such as by saying Sincerely, is called the complimentary close.)

In-person salutations are often intended to show a person respect or friendliness or to welcome them. Such salutations exist in great varieties, and often vary from culture to culture. The handshake is popular, but in some places it is more common to bow. Many Muslims greet people with the word salaam, meaning “peace,” or the phrase Assalamu alaikum, meaning “peace be to you.” This is sometimes done along with a gesture consisting of a slight bow and the placing of the right palm on the forehead. Hindus often greet people by saying the word namaste (meaning “a bow to you”) and pressing their palms together vertically in front of their body.

Salutations vary by religion and culture, but they can also vary from friend to friend. Some friends might have a very special way of greeting each other, such as a secret handshake.

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What are some other forms related to salutation?

  • salutational (adjective)
  • salutationless (adjective)
  • nonsalutation (noun)

What are some synonyms for salutation?

What are some words that share a root or word element with salutation?


What are some words that often get used in discussing salutation?


How is salutation used in real life?

People use salutations all the time. Some are more appropriate in certain situations than others.



Try using salutation!

Which of the following salutations would be the most appropriate when sending an email to the president of a university?

A. Hi Mrs. Jones,
B. Howdy President!
C. Greetings:
D. Dear President Jones,

How to use salutation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for salutation

/ (ˌsæljʊˈteɪʃən) /

an act, phrase, gesture, etc, that serves as a greeting
a form of words used as an opening to a speech or letter, such as Dear Sir or Ladies and Gentlemen
the act of saluting

Word Origin for salutation

C14: from Latin salūtātiō, from salūtāre to greet; see salute
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