- prominent or conspicuous: salient traits.
- projecting or pointing outward: a salient angle.
- leaping or jumping: a salient animal.
- Heraldry. (of a beast) represented as leaping: a lion salient.
- a salient angle or part, as the central outward-projecting angle of a bastion or an outward projection in a battle line.
- Physical Geography. a landform that extends out beyond its surroundings, as a spur projecting from the side of a mountain.Compare reentrant(def 4).
Origin of salient
SynonymsSee more synonyms for salient on Thesaurus.com
- military a projection of the forward line into enemy-held territory
- a salient angle
Word Origin and History for unsalient
1560s, "leaping," a heraldic term, from Latin salientem (nominative saliens), present participle of salire "to leap," from PIE root *sel- (4) "to jump" (cf. Greek hallesthai "to leap," Middle Irish saltraim "I trample," and probably Sanskrit ucchalati "rises quickly").
It was used in Middle English as an adjective meaning "leaping, skipping." The meaning "pointing outward" (preserved in military usage) is from 1680s; that of "prominent, striking" first recorded 1840, from salient point (1670s), which refers to the heart of an embryo, which seems to leap, and translates Latin punctum saliens, going back to Aristotle's writings. Hence, the "starting point" of anything.
1828, from salient (adj.).