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salient

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salient

Postby Bailey » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:12 pm

sa·li·ent (sl-nt, slynt)
adj.
1. Projecting or jutting beyond a line or surface; protruding.
2. Strikingly conspicuous; prominent. See Synonyms at noticeable.
3. Springing; jumping: salient tree toads.
n.
1. A military position that projects into the position of the enemy.
2. A projecting angle or part.



[Latin salins, salient-, present participle of salre, to leap; see sel- in Indo-European roots.]



sali·ent·ly adv.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin


mark jutting-out-from-the-herd Bailey

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Postby Slava » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:46 pm

I do need to use the dictionary more often, even for words I know. I don't always know them as they should be known.

I've always thought a salient point was a "good point" in a discussion or debate. I was wrong:

www.etymonline.com wrote:1562, "leaping," a heraldic term, from L. salientem (nom. saliens ), prp. of salire "to leap," from PIE base *sel- "to jump" (cf. Gk. hallesthai "to leap," M.Ir. saltraim "I trample," and probably Skt. ucchalati "rises quickly"). The meaning "pointing outward" (preserved in military usage) is from 1687; that of "prominent, striking" first recorded 1840, from salient point (1672), which refers to the heart of an embryo, which seems to leap, and translates L. punctum saliens, going back to Aristotle's writings. Hence, the "starting point" of anything.


Previously suggested by KatyBr here, but has not as yet leapt into our alphaDictionary.
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