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salt

Printable Version
Pronunciation: sawlt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: SaltRoman soldiers were only given money for salt, salarium, the adjective meaning "for salt", but in post-Augustinian Rome the term remained and its meaning broadened to "pension, allowance, salary". The feminine, salaria "for salt", emerges in another interesting word, English saltcellar. This word is a folk etymology of Middle English salt-saler from salt + saler "saltcellar" (or "salt saltcellar"). Saler is from Old French saliere "saltcellar (place for salt)" from the feminine form of the same Latin adjective that produced salary.

Notes: Roman soldiers were only given money for salt, salarium, the adjective meaning "for salt", but in post-Augustinian Rome the term remained and its meaning broadened to "pension, allowance, salary". The feminine, salaria "for salt", emerges in another interesting word, English saltcellar. This word is a folk etymology of Middle English salt-saler from salt + saler "saltcellar" (or "salt saltcellar"). Saler is from Old French saliere "saltcellar (place for salt)" from the feminine form of the same Latin adjective that produced salary.

In Play: Finally, you might also be interested to know that Greek halo, as in halogen of 'halogen lamp' fame, comes from the same ancient root, sal-. Greek halo means "an element that forms a salt by direct union with a metal", e.g. chlorine, fluorine, bromine, iodine. The word literally means "salt-creator" since the root gen- means "give birth to".

Word History: Salt is found in the words for many foods. French salade, Italian insalata, and Spanish ensalada) come from spoken (Vulgar) Latin salata "salted", the past participle of salare "to salt". Spanish salsa, the condiment of spicy raw vegetables, comes from Latin salsus "salted" (plural salsa "salted things"). Where the L turned to U (as many English-speakers pronounce the "L" in milk), the result was sauce, which is good for the gander and for a goose. Of course, the saucy stuff you stuff into a sausage is right at home, since sausage is the same word with the suffix conglomerative suffix -age. Then there is souse, but enough salty food, already!

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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