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    sagacity (n.) — salt-cellar (n.)

    sagacity (n.)

    "state or character of being keenly perceptive; acuteness of mental discernment," c. 1500, from French sagacité, from Latin sagacitatem (nominative sagacitas) "keenness of perception, quality of being acute," from sagax (genitive sagacis) "of quick perception, acute," related to sagus "prophetic," sagire "perceive keenly" (from PIE root *sag- "to track down, trace, seek;" source also of Old English secan "to seek;" see seek). Also used 17c.-18c. in reference to animals, with the meaning "acute sense of smell."ETD sagacity (n.).2

    sagacious (adj.)

    c. 1600, "keenly perceptive, discerning," originally of persons in reference to the sense of smell," with -ous + stem of Latin sagax "of quick perception" (see sagacity). The sense of "skilled at discovering truths," especially as regards human natures, is by 1640s. It is not considered to be etymologically related to sage (adj.). Related: Sagaciously; sagaciousness.ETD sagacious (adj.).2

    sagamore (n.)

    "king or chief among some Native American tribes," 1610s, sagamo, from Abenaki (Algonquian) zogemo "chief, ruler," which is distantly related to the source of sachem.ETD sagamore (n.).2

    sagely (adv.)

    "wisely, with just discernment and prudence," c. 1400, from sage (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD sagely (adv.).2

    sage (n.1)

    kind of shrubby, aromatic herb (Salvia officinalis), esteemed formerly as a medicine, also used as a condiment, early 14c., from Old French sauge (13c.), from Latin salvia, from salvus "healthy" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept"). So called for the healing or preserving qualities attributed to it (sage was used to keep teeth clean and relieve sore gums and boiled in water to make a drink to alleviate arthritis). In English folklore, sage, like parsley, is said to grow best where the wife is dominant. The word was in late Old English as salvie, directly from Latin. Compare German Salbei, also from Latin.ETD sage (n.1).2

    sage (adj.)

    "wise, judicious, prudent," c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French sage "wise, knowledgeable, learned; shrewd, skillful" (11c.), from Gallo-Roman *sabius, from Vulgar Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere "have a taste, have good taste, be wise" (from PIE root *sap- "to taste;" see sap (n.1)). Originally of persons, but that use is now poetic only or archaic; of advice, etc., "characterized by wisdom" is from 1530s. Related: Sageness.ETD sage (adj.).2

    sage (n.2)

    "wise man, man of profound wisdom, venerable man known as a grave philosopher," mid-14c., from sage (adj.). Originally applied to the Seven Sages — Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon, Bias, and Pittacus — men of ancient Greece renowned for practical wisdom.ETD sage (n.2).2

    sagebrush (n.)

    collective name for a type of dry, shrubby plant that grows over the vast dry plains of the western U.S., by 1846, from sage (n.1), to which it has no biological affinity, + brush (n.2). Said to be so called for resemblance of its appearance or odor.ETD sagebrush (n.).2

    saggy (adj.)

    "apt to sag" [OED], 1848, from sag (n.) + -y (2). Related: Saggily; sagginess. Sagging (adj.) "that sags," present-participle adjective, is attested from 1590s.ETD saggy (adj.).2

    sagittal (adj.)

    1540s, "shaped like or resembling an arrow or arrowhead," as if from Latin *sagittalis, from sagitta "arrow" (see Sagittarius).ETD sagittal (adj.).2

    sagitta (n.)

    small northern constellation representing an arrow, 1704, from Latin sagitta "arrow" (see Sagittarius).ETD sagitta (n.).2

    Sagittarius (n.)

    southern constellation; ninth sign of the zodiac, late Old English, from Latin, literally "archer," properly "pertaining to arrows," from sagitta "arrow," which probably is from a pre-Latin Mediterranean language.ETD Sagittarius (n.).2

    Meaning "person born under Sagittarius" is attested from 1901 (properly Sagittarian, which is attested in the same syndicated 1901 newspaper article). The star-picture represents a centaur drawing a bow, scholars suspect it to have been originally a Babylonian god, but to modern observers it only looks vaguely like a teapot.ETD Sagittarius (n.).3

    sago (n.)

    "starchy foodstuff made of the piths of palms," 1570s, via Portuguese and Dutch from Malay (Austronesian) sagu, the name of the palm tree from which it is obtained (attested in English in this sense from 1550s). Also borrowed in French (sagou), Spanish (sagu), German (Sago).ETD sago (n.).2

    saguaro (n.)

    giant branching columnar species of cactus of the deserts of Arizona and Mexico, 1856, from Mexican Spanish, from a native name of unknown origin, perhaps from Yaqui (Sonoran).ETD saguaro (n.).2


    great desert of northern Africa, 1610s, from Arabic çahra "desert" (plural çahara), according to Klein, noun use of fem. of the adjective asharu "yellowish red." Related: Saharan.ETD Sahara.2


    belt of mostly grassy land just below the Sahara in West Africa, from Arabic sahil "sea coast, shore." Originally in reference to the coastal region. Related: Sahelian.ETD Sahel.2

    sahib (n.)

    "gentleman, sir," respectful address to Europeans in India, 1670s, from Hindi or Urdu sahib "master, lord," from Arabic sahib, originally "friend, companion," from sahiba "he accompanied." Female form ("European lady") is memsahib.ETD sahib (n.).2

    say (n.)

    1570s, "what someone says," hence "what one has in him to say, a declaration or statement," from say (v.). The Old English noun secge meant "speech."ETD say (n.).2

    The meaning "right or authority to be heard in a matter or influence a decision" is from 1610s in have a say; earlier in this sense was have a saying (late 15c.). Extended form say-so "personal assertion" is recorded by 1630s; in the sense of "power, authority" it is by 1896.ETD say (n.).3

    saying (n.)

    "utterance, recitation, action of the verb 'say,' " c. 1300, verbal noun from say (v.); meaning "something that has been said" (usually by someone thought important) is from c. 1300; sense of "a proverbial expression, an adage" is attested from mid-15c.ETD saying (n.).2

    Phrase it goes without saying is attested from 1862 in a French context, used in English and American newspapers from c. 1868 and much complained of at first as without obvious sense.ETD saying (n.).3

    say (v.)

    Middle English seien, from Old English secgan "to utter, inform, speak, tell, relate," from Proto-Germanic *sagjanan "to say" (source also of Old Saxon seggian, Old Norse segja, Danish sige, Old Frisian sedsa, Middle Dutch segghen, Dutch zeggen, Old High German sagen, German sagen "to say").ETD say (v.).2

    Watkins has this from a PIE *sokwyo-, from a root *sekw- (3) "to say, utter" (source also of Hittite shakiya- "to declare," Lithuanian sakyti "to say," Old Church Slavonic sociti "to vindicate, show," Old Irish insce "speech," Old Latin inseque "to tell say"). Some further see this as identical to the PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow" (with semantic development to "see" and then "speak"). But others doubt it and Boutkan gives it "No certain PIE etymology."ETD say (v.).3

    The past tense form said developed from Old English segde. Impersonal use (it is said) was in Old English. The notion in shall we say, etc. (1580s) is "suppose, take for granted." On that analogy, impersonal say is used as an introduction word, or parenthetically, with a clause and meaning "suppose, assume" (c. 1600). Its colloquial use as an expression of surprise, etc. is by 1830.ETD say (v.).4

    Not attested before 1930 in use with inanimate objects (clocks, signs, etc.) as subjects. You said it! "you're right" is attested by 1919; you can say that again as a phrase expressing agreement is by 1925, American English colloquial. You don't say (so) as an expression of astonishment (often ironic) is attested by 1779. The Society of American Florists' advertising slogan say it with flowers dates to 1918 from it grew other say it with constructions.ETD say (v.).5


    third person singular of say (v.), c. 1300, eventually replacing saith.ETD says.2

    said (adj.)

    "named or mentioned before," c. 1300, past-participle adjective from say (v.). Expression all is said and done is from 1550s.ETD said (adj.).2


    southern Vietnamese city, capital of former South Vietnam, named for its river, which bears a name of uncertain origin.ETD Saigon.2

    sail (v.)

    Old English segilan "travel on water in a ship by the action of wind upon sails; equip with a sail," from the same Germanic source as sail (n.); cognate with Old Norse sigla, Middle Dutch seghelen, Dutch zeilen, Middle Low German segelen, German segeln. Later extended to travel over water by steam power or other mechanical agency. The meaning "to set out on a sea voyage, leave port" is from c. 1200. Extended sense of "float through the air; move forward impressively" is by late 14c., as is the sense of "sail over or upon." Related: Sailed; sailing.ETD sail (v.).2

    sail (n.)

    "piece of shaped cloth spread so as to catch the wind and cause a vessel to move in water," Old English segl "sail, veil, curtain," from Proto-Germanic *seglom (source also of Old Saxon, Swedish segel, Old Norse segl, Old Frisian seil, Dutch zeil, Old High German segal, German Segel), of obscure origin with no known cognates outside Germanic (Irish seol, Welsh hwyl "sail" are Germanic loan-words). In some sources (Klein, OED) referred to PIE root *sek- "to cut," as if meaning "a cut piece of cloth."ETD sail (n.).2

    As "a single ship or vessel" by 1510s. To take the wind out of (someone's) sails (1888) is to deprive (someone) of the means of progress, especially by sudden and unexpected action, "as by one vessel sailing between the wind and another vessel" ["The Encyclopaedic Dictionary," 1888].ETD sail (n.).3

    sailing (n.)

    Old English seglinge, "act of one who or that which sails," verbal noun from the source of sail (v.). Gradually coming also to mean "the art or rules of directing a ship." Figurative use of smooth sailing for "easy progress" is from 1840.ETD sailing (n.).2

    sailboat (n.)

    also sail-boat, "boat propelled by, or fitted with, a sail or sails," 1769, from sail (n.) + boat (n.).ETD sailboat (n.).2

    sail-cloth (n.)

    "hemp or cotton canvas used in making ships' sails," c. 1200, from sail (n.) + cloth (n.).ETD sail-cloth (n.).2

    sailfish (n.)

    also sail-fish, "fish with a long or large dorsal fin," 1590s, from sail (n.) + fish (n.).ETD sailfish (n.).2

    sailor (n.)

    c. 1400, sailer, "one who sails," agent noun from sail (v.). The spelling with -o-, erroneous but now established, arose 16c., probably by influence of tailor, etc., and to distinguish the meaning "seaman, mariner" from "thing that sails."ETD sailor (n.).2

    It replaced much older seaman and mariner (q.q.v.), and its later appearance is perhaps to avoid confusion with common Middle English saillour, sailer "dancer, tumbler, acrobat" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French sailleor (from Latin salire "to leap"). Old English also had merefara "sailor."ETD sailor (n.).3

    Applied as an adjective from 1870s to clothing styles and items based on a tailor's view of a sailor's characteristic attire. Vulgar extended form sailorman is by 1761. Sailor's purse "egg pouch of a ray or shark" is so called by 1874; it is typically empty when found on shore.ETD sailor (n.).4

    sain (v.)

    "to cross oneself; to mark or bless with the sign of the cross," Old English segnian, from Latin signare "to sign, mark, distinguish" (in Church Latin and Medieval Latin "to make the sign of the Cross"); see sign (n.). A common Germanic borrowing, cognate with Old Saxon segnon, Dutch zegenen, Old High German seganon, German segnen "to bless," Old Norse signa. Century Dictionary (1889) marks it "Obsolete or Scotch."ETD sain (v.).2

    saint (v.)

    "to enroll (someone) among the saints," c. 1200, in beon isontet "be sainted," from saint (n.) or from Old French santir. Related: Sainted; sainting.ETD saint (v.).2

    saint (n.)

    early 12c. as an adjective, seinte, "holy, divinely inspired, worthy of worship," used before proper names (Sainte Marian Magdalene, etc.), from Old French saint, seinte "holy, pious, devout," from Latin sanctus "holy, consecrated," past participle of sancire "consecrate" (see sacred). It displaced or altered Old English sanct, which is directly from Latin sanctus.ETD saint (n.).2

    From an adjective prefixed to the name of a canonized person, it came to be used in English by c. 1200 as a noun, "a specific canonized Christian," also "one of the elect, a member of the body of Christ, one consecrated or set apart to the service of God," also in an Old Testament sense "a pre-Christian prophet."ETD saint (n.).3

    It is attested by late 13c. as "moral or virtuous person, one who is pure or upright in heart and life."ETD saint (n.).4

    The adjectives also were used as nouns in Late Latin and Old French: "a saint; a holy relic." The Latin word also is the source of Spanish santo, santa, Italian san, etc., and also ultimately the source of the word in most Germanic languages (Old Frisian sankt, Dutch sint, German Sanct).ETD saint (n.).5

    sainthood (n.)

    "state or condition of being a saint," 1540s, from saint (n.) + -hood. Saintship is attested from c. 1600; saintdom from 1842 (Tennyson).ETD sainthood (n.).2

    saintly (adj.)

    "like or characteristic of a saint, befitting a holy person," 1620s, from saint (n.) + -ly (1). Middleton used saintish; Dryden has saintlike. Related: Saintlily; saintliness.ETD saintly (adj.).2

    Saint-Simonism (n.)

    by 1829 in reference to the socialistic system promoted by Claude Henri, Comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) of France.ETD Saint-Simonism (n.).2

    sair (adj.)

    Scottish and Northern English form of sore (adj.).ETD sair (adj.).2

    sake (n.1)

    [purpose], Middle English sake "strife, discord, enmity, dispute; legal dispute; blame, sin, guilt;" from Old English sacu "a cause at law, crime, dispute, guilt," from Proto-Germanic *sako "affair, thing, charge, accusation" (source also of Old Norse sök "charge, lawsuit, effect, cause," Old Frisian seke "strife, dispute, matter, thing," Dutch zaak "lawsuit, cause, sake, thing," German Sache "thing, matter, affair, cause"), from PIE root *sag- "to investigate, seek out" (source also of Old English secan, Gothic sokjan "to seek;" see seek).ETD sake (n.1).2

    Much of the word's original meaning has been taken over by case (n.1) and cause (n.), and it survives largely in phrases for the sake of and for _______'s sake "out of consideration or regard for" a person or thing (c. 1200, as for God's sake, early 14c.), both those formations are said to be probably from Norse, as their like has not been found in Old English.ETD sake (n.1).3

    sake (n.2)

    Japanese fermented liquor made from rice, 1680s, from Japanese sake, literally "alcohol."ETD sake (n.2).2

    saki (n.)

    see sake (n.2).ETD saki (n.).2


    flowering cherry tree, 1884, from Japanese.ETD sakura.2

    sal (n.)

    name for salt formerly much used in pharmacy and old chemistry, late 14c., from Old French sal, from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt"). For sal ammoniac "ammonium chloride" (early 14c.), see ammonia. Sal volatile, "ammonium carbonate," especially as used in reviving persons who have fainted, is by 1650s, Modern Latin, literally "volatile salt" (see volatile).ETD sal (n.).2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "salt."ETD *sal-.2

    It forms all or part of: hali-; halide; halieutic; halite; halo-; halogen; sal; salad; salami; salary; saline; salmagundi; salsa; salsify; salt; salt-cellar; saltpeter; sauce; sausage; silt; souse.ETD *sal-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek hals "salt, sea;" Latin sal, Old Church Slavonic soli, Old Irish salann, Welsh halen, Old English sealt, German Salz "salt."ETD *sal-.4


    Arabic or Muslim greeting, 1610s, from Arabic salam (also in Urdu, Persian), literally "peace" (compare Hebrew shalom); in full, (as)salam 'alaikum "peace be upon you," from base of salima "he was safe" (compare Islam, Muslim). Formerly used generically of ceremonious salutations in India and elsewhere in Asia. As a verb, "to salute with a 'salaam,'" by 1690s.ETD salaam.2

    salacious (adj.)

    1660s, "lustful, lecherous," from Latin salax (genitive salacis) "lustful," probably originally "fond of leaping," as in a male animal leaping on a female in sexual advances, from salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). It is attested earlier in the later-rare sense of "tending to provoke lust" (1640s). The earliest form of the word in English is a noun, salacity "lustfulness" (c. 1600). Related: Salaciously; salaciousness.ETD salacious (adj.).2

    salad (n.)

    late 14c., salade, "raw herbs cut up and variously dressed," from Old French salade (14c.) and Medieval Latin salata, both from Vulgar Latin *salata, literally "salted," short for herba salata "salted vegetables" (vegetables seasoned with brine, a popular Roman dish), from fem. past participle of *salare "to salt," from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").ETD salad (n.).2

    Dutch salade, German Salat, Swedish salat, Russian salat are from Romanic languages. Later extended to dishes composed of meat chopped and mixed with uncooked herbs and variously seasoned (chicken salad, etc.). In reference to the raw herbs and vegetables themselves, in U.S. it is colloquially limited to lettuce (by 1838).ETD salad (n.).3

    Salad oil "olive oil used for dressing salads," is by 1550s. Salad-fork is by 1808. Salad bar is attested by 1940, American English. Salad days "time of youthful inexperience" (perhaps on notion of "green") was used by Shakespeare ("Antony and Cleopatra," 1606) and owes its survival, if not its existence, to him.ETD salad (n.).4


    Sultan of Egypt and Syria from 1174-93, target of the Third Crusade (1189-1192); in full Salah-ad-din Yusuf ibn-Ayyub (1137-1193).ETD Saladin.2

    salamander (n.)

    mid-14c., salamandre, "legendary lizard-like creature supposed to live in fire," from Old French salamandre "legendary fiery beast," also "cricket" (12c.), from Latin salamandra, from Greek salamandra, a kind of lizard supposed to be an extinguisher of fire, a word probably of eastern origin or, as per Beekes, of Pre-Greek origin.ETD salamander (n.).2

    The application in zoology to a tailed amphibian (known commonly as an eft or newt, but these words are sometimes applied only to the water-salamanders), is recorded by 1610s. Aristotle, and especially Pliny, are responsible for the fiction of an animal that thrives in and extinguishes fires. The eft lives in damp logs and secretes a milky substance when threatened, but there is no obvious natural explanation for the myth. The word also was given as a name to a type of imaginary elemental of fire (1680s).ETD salamander (n.).3

    With some technical extensions to things used in connection with the fire or used when very hot (1660s). Also used 18c. for "a woman who lives chastely in the midst of temptations" (after Addison), and "a soldier who exposes himself to fire in battle." A salamander-stove (1842) was a small portable stove used to heat a room. To rub someone a salamander was a 19c. form of German student drinking toast (einem einen salamander reiben).ETD salamander (n.).4

    Related adjectives: Salamandrous (1711); salamandrine (1712); salamandroid (1854); salamandry (c. 1600).ETD salamander (n.).5

    salami (n.)

    type of salted, flavored Italian sausage, 1852, from Italian salami, plural of salame "spiced pork sausage," from Vulgar Latin *salamen, from *salare "to salt," from Latin sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").ETD salami (n.).2

    salary (v.)

    "to pay a regular salary to," late 15c. (Caxton), from salary (n.). Related: Salaried "in receipt of a fixed salary" (c. 1600), which as an adjective in reference to positions originally was contrasted with honorary ("without pay"); from 20c. with hourly ("paid by the hour").ETD salary (v.).2

    salary (n.)

    late 13c., salarie, "compensation, payment," whether periodical, for regular service or for a specific service; from Anglo-French salarie, Old French salaire "wages, pay, reward," from Latin salarium "an allowance, a stipend, a pension," said to be originally "salt-money, soldier's allowance for the purchase of salt" [Lewis & Short] noun use of neuter of adjective salarius "of or pertaining to salt; yearly revenue from the sale of salt;" as a noun, "a dealer in salt fish," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt"). Compare Greek sitērion "pay," etymologically "provision for grain," from sitos "wheat, corn."ETD salary (n.).2

    Over time by 19c. salary became restricted to "recompense stipulated to be paid a person periodically for services," usually a fixed sum. The Via Salaria was so called because the Sabines used it to fetch sea-salt near the Porta Collina. Japanese sarariman "male salaried worker," literally "salary-man," is from English.ETD salary (n.).3

    salat (n.)

    Islamic ritual prayer, from Arabic salah "prayer."ETD salat (n.).2

    salchow (n.)

    type of skating jump, by 1921, named for Swedish figure skater Ulrich Salchow (1877-1949).ETD salchow (n.).2

    sale (n.)

    Middle English sale, from late Old English sala "a sale, act of selling," which according to OED probably is from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse sala "sale," but in either case from Proto-Germanic *salo (source also of Old High German sala, Swedish salu, Danish salg), from PIE root *sal- (3) "to grasp, take."ETD sale (n.).2

    The specific application to a public auction is by 1670s. The sense of "a selling of shop goods at lower prices than usual" is attested by 1866. To be for sale "available for purchase, intended to be sold" is by 1610s; on sale in the same sense is by 1540s; the earlier form was to sale (late 14c.). Salariat "the salaried class" is by 1918, from French. Also see sales.ETD sale (n.).3


    "of or pertaining to sale, sales, or the business of selling," word-forming element from genitive of sale (n.), by 1520s, in salesman. Cf. saleswork "work done for sale" (1775). For earlier use of similar formations, compare craftsman, oarsman, both Middle English. Sales tax is attested by 1886; sales clerk by 1863; sales associate by 1946. Sales representative is from 1910.ETD sales.2

    saleable (adj.)

    also, but less commonly, salable, "purchasable; capable of being sold, finding a ready market," 1520s, from sale + -able. Related: Salability; saleability (1797) which seems to have appeared first in Coleridge.ETD saleable (adj.).2


    place mentioned in Genesis xiv.18, from Hebrew Shālēm, usually said to be another name for Jerusalem and to mean "peace" (compare Hebrew shalom, Arabic salaam). A typical meetinghouse name among Baptists and Methodists, so much so that by mid-19c. it (along with Bethel and Ebenezer) had come to be used in Britain generically to mean "non-conformist chapel."ETD Salem.2

    salep (n.)

    1736, "drug from starch or jelly made from dried tubers of orchid-like plants," from Turkish salep, from a dialectal pronunciation of Arabic thahleb, which, according to OED, is "taken to be a shortening of khasyu 'th-thahleb orchis (lit. 'fox's testicles' ...)" and it goes on to compare a native English orchid name, dogstones.ETD salep (n.).2


    city in southern Italy, noted in the Middle Ages for its medical school, from Latin Salernum, said to be ultimately from a non-Indo-European language. Related: Salernitan (from Latin Salernitanus).ETD Salerno.2

    salesman (n.)

    "one whose occupation is the selling of goods, services, or merchandise," 1520s, from man (n.) + sales (q.v.), genitive of sale (n.). Compare craftsman, tradesman.ETD salesman (n.).2

    salesmanship (n.)

    "character or qualities of a (good) salesman," 1853, from salesman + -ship.ETD salesmanship (n.).2

    salesperson (n.)

    by 1875; see sales + person. Generally intended to apply to persons of either sex, when it wasn't a blind swerve away from vulgar saleswoman or saleslady.ETD salesperson (n.).2

    saleswoman (n.)

    1704, "woman who waits upon customers in a shop or store;" see sales + woman, and compare salesman, salesperson. Saleslady (by 1856) is marked in Century Dictionary as "Vulgar, U.S." Saleswomanship is attested by 1908.ETD saleswoman (n.).2

    Salic (adj.)

    "based on or contained in the law code of the Salian Franks," 1540s, from French Salique, from Medieval Latin Salicus, from the Salian Franks, a name given to a Frankish Germanic tribe that once lived near the Zuider Zee, the ancestors of the Merovingian kings, and it means "those living near the river Sala" (the modern Ijssel).ETD Salic (adj.).2

    The Salic Law, a supposed code of law of the ancient Germanic tribes, was invoked 1316 by Philip V of France to exclude a woman from succeeding to the throne of France (and later to combat the French claims of Edward III of England), but the precise meaning of the cited passage is unclear.ETD Salic (adj.).3

    salience (n.)

    1814, "fact or quality of leaping;" 1841, "quality of standing out, state of projecting or being projected;" see salient (adj.) + -ence. The psychological sense of "quality of being more prominent in the mind or memory" is by 1938.ETD salience (n.).2

    saliency (n.)

    1660s, "leaping, jumping;" see salient (adj.) + abstract noun suffix -cy. From 1834 as "fact or condition of standing out."ETD saliency (n.).2

    salient (adj.)

    1560s, "leaping," a heraldic term, from Latin salientem (nominative saliens), present participle of salire "to leap," from a PIE root of uncertain form (source also of Sanskrit sisarsi, sisrate "to flow, run, hurry;"Greek hallesthai "to leap," Middle Irish saltraim "I trample," Middle Welsh sathar "trampling").ETD salient (adj.).2

    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.ETD salient (adj.).3

    salient (n.)

    "a salient angle or part, a projection," especially as part of a military work, 1828, from salient (adj.).ETD salient (n.).2

    salinity (n.)

    "salty character or quality," 1650s; see saline + -ity.ETD salinity (n.).2

    salination (n.)

    "act of washing or soaking with a salt liquid," 1705; see saline (adj.) -ation, ending indicating a noun of action.ETD salination (n.).2

    saline (adj.)

    c. 1500, "made of salt" (a sense now obsolete), probably from Latin salinum "salt cellar" or salinae "salt pits," from sal (genitive salis) "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt"). The meaning "of, pertaining to, or characteristic of salt" is by 1771.ETD saline (adj.).2

    Also in Middle English as a noun meaning "salt pit" (13c.), "a salt spring" (mid-15c.). As a shortening of saline solution, by 1926 (saline solution is attested by 1753).ETD saline (adj.).3

    Salisbury (n.)

    place in Wiltshire, Middle English Salesbury, Old English Searobyrg, Searesbyrig, Roman Sorbiodoni, Sorvioduni. The first element is a British Celtic word of uncertain sense; the second is *dunon "a hill, fort" or else Gaulish *duro- "fort, walled town." The first element was altered in Old English by folk etymology and the second replaced by its native translation, burh.ETD Salisbury (n.).2

    Salisbury steak (1885) is named for J.H. Salisbury (1823-1905), U.S. physician and food specialist, who promoted it.ETD Salisbury (n.).3

    Incorrect use for "hamburger" generally traces to World War I and the deliberate attempt to purify American English of German loan words.ETD Salisbury (n.).4

    Salish (n.)

    self-designation of the Native American people of Montana also known as Flathead, from a term containing -ish "people." The language group that includes their tongue has been called Salishan (1886).ETD Salish (n.).2

    salivate (v.)

    1650s, transitive, "cause to produce an unusual or excess secretion of saliva" (implied in salivating); intransitive sense "produce an abnormally abundant flow of saliva" is from 1660s, from Latin salivatus, past participle of salivare, from saliva (see saliva). Figurative use in reference to anticipation is by 1951. Related: Salivated.ETD salivate (v.).2

    salivation (n.)

    "act or process of salivating; abnormally abundant flow of saliva," 1590s, from French salivation or directly from Latin salivationem (nominative salivatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of salivare (see salivate).ETD salivation (n.).2

    saliva (n.)

    "spittle, the secretions of the salivary glands of the mouth," early 15c. (Chauliac), salive, from Old French salive and directly from Latin saliva "spittle" (from Proto-Italic *sal-iwo- "dirty yellow," from PIE root *sal- (2) "dirty; gray; "see sallow (adj.)). Related: Salival.ETD saliva (n.).2

    salivary (adj.)

    1709, "secreting or containing saliva;" 1807, "of or pertaining to saliva;" from Latin salivarius, from saliva (see saliva).ETD salivary (adj.).2


    in reference to vaccine against poliomyelitis, 1954, from U.S. virologist Jonas Edward Salk (1914-1995), who developed it.ETD Salk.2


    fem. proper name, an alteration of Sarah (compare Hal from Harry, Moll from Mary, etc.). Sally Lunn cakes (by 1780), sweet and spongy, supposedly were named for the young woman in Bath who first made them and sold them in the streets. Sally Ann as a nickname for Salvation Army is recorded from 1927.ETD Sally.2

    sally (n.)

    1550s, "a sudden rush (out), a dashing or springing forth," especially of troops, from a besieged place, attacking the besiegers, from French saillie "a rushing forth," noun use of fem. past participle of saillir "to leap," from Latin salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)).ETD sally (n.).2

    Hence figuratively, in 17c. of spiritual matters, in 18c. of wit, etc. In architecture, "a projection," 1660s. Sally-port "gate or passage in a fortification to afford free egress to troops in making a sally" is from 1640s (with port (n.2)).ETD sally (n.).3

    sally (v.)

    of a troop or troops, "issue suddenly from a place of defense for the purpose of attack," 1540s, from sally (n.). Related: Sallied; sallying.ETD sally (v.).2

    sallow (adj.)

    of the skin or complexion, "of a sickly color, discolored, yellowish," Middle English salu, from Old English salo "dusky, dark" (related to sol "dark, dirty"), from Proto-Germanic *salwa- (source also of Middle Dutch salu "discolored, dirty," Old High German salo "dirty gray," Old Norse sölr "dirty yellow"), from PIE root *sal- (2) "dirty, gray" (source also of Old Church Slavonic slavojocije "grayish-blue color," Russian solovoj "cream-colored"). Related: Sallowness.ETD sallow (adj.).2

    sallow (n.)

    type of tall, shrubby willow plant of the Old World, Middle English saloue, from Old English sealh (Anglian salh), from Proto-Germanic *salhjon (source also of Old Norse selja, Old High German salaha, and the first element in the German compound Salweide).ETD sallow (n.).2

    This is reconstructed to be from PIE *sal(i)k- "willow" (source also of Latin salix "willow" (taken in botany as the genus name), Middle Irish sail, Welsh helygen, Breton halegen "willow"). French saule "willow" is from Frankish salha, from the Germanic root. It was used in Palm Sunday processions and decorations in England before the importing of real palm leaves began.ETD sallow (n.).3

    salmagundi (n.)

    1670s, "dish of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, onions, with oil and condiments," from French salmigondis (16c.), originally "seasoned salt meats" (compare French salmis "salted meats"), from salmigondin (16c.), a word of uncertain origin.ETD salmagundi (n.).2

    Watkins derives it from Latin sal "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt") + condire "to season, flavor" (see condiment). The French word is probably related to or influenced by Old French salemine "hodgepodge of meats or fish cooked in wine," which was borrowed in Middle English as salomene (early 14c.). French salmi, meanwhile, made its way into English by 1759 for a particular kind of ragout; Century Dictionary describes it as "A ragout of roasted woodcocks, larks, thrushes, or other species of game, minced and stewed with wine, little pieces of bread, and other ingredients to stimulate the appetite."ETD salmagundi (n.).3

    Salmagundi in the figurative sense of "mixture of various ingredients" is from 1761; it was the title of Washington Irving's satirical publication (1807-08). In dialect, salmon-gundy, solomon-gundy.ETD salmagundi (n.).4

    salmon (n.)

    early 13c., samoun, the North Atlantic salmon, from Anglo-French samoun, Old French salmun (Modern French saumon), from Latin salmonem (nominative salmo) "a salmon," probably originally "leaper," from salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)), though some dismiss this as folk etymology. Another theory traces the Latin word to Celtic.ETD salmon (n.).2

    Thompson ["Glossary of Greek Fishes"] writes that "The Salmon does not enter the Mediterranean. It is not mentioned by any Greek author, nor by any Latin writer except those two" [Pliny and Ausonius].ETD salmon (n.).3

    It replaced Old English læx, from PIE *lax, the more usual word for the fish (see lox). The classical -l- was restored in English from 16c., though Scott still uses saumon. In reference to a pinkish-orange color like that of the flesh of the fish, it is recorded by 1786. Related: Salmonic.ETD salmon (n.).4

    Salmonella (n.)

    1913, the genus name, coined 1900 in Modern Latin by Joseph Lignières, French-born Argentine bacteriologist, in reference to U.S. veterinary surgeon Daniel E. Salmon (1850-1914), who isolated a type of the bacteria in 1885.ETD Salmonella (n.).2


    fem. proper name, from Late Latin, from Greek Salome, from Hebrew Shlomit, which is related to shalom "peace" and to Solomon. In biblical lore, the name of the daughter of Herod II and Herodias.ETD Salome.2

    Salomonic (adj.)

    1873, from Late Latin Salomon, from Late Greek Salōmōn, variant of Solomon (see Solomon).ETD Salomonic (adj.).2

    salon (n.)

    1690s, "large room or apartment in a palace or great house," from French salon "reception room" (17c.), from Italian salone "large hall," from sala "hall," from a Germanic source (compare Old English sele, Middle English salle, Old Norse salr "hall," Old High German sal "hall, house," German Saal), from Proto-Germanic *salaz.ETD salon (n.).2

    This is reconstructed to be from a PIE *sel-o-/*sol-o- "place, habitation, human settlement," with cognates in Lithuanian sala "island, field surrounded by meadows, village;" Old Church Slavonic selo "field, courtyard, village," obsolete Polish siolo, Russian selo "village;" and perhaps Latin solum "bottom, ground, foundation."ETD salon (n.).3

    The sense of "reception room of a Parisian lady" is by 1810 (the woman who hosts one is a salonnière). The meaning "gathering of fashionable people" is by 1888; the meaning "annual exhibition of contemporary paintings and sculpture in Paris" (1875) is from its originally being held in one of the salons of the Louvre, from a secondary sense of the French word, "spacious or elegant apartment for reception of company or artistic exhibitions." The meaning "establishment for hairdressing and beauty care" is by 1913.ETD salon (n.).4

    saloon (n.)

    1728, an Englished or otherwise deformed variant of salon (q.v.), and originally meaning the same, "spacious room set apart for reception of company or artistic display."ETD saloon (n.).2

    The specific sense of "large hall in a public place for entertainment or amusement" is from 1747; especially one on a passenger boat (by 1817); it later was used of railway cars furnished as drawing rooms (1842). The sense of "public bar" developed by 1841 in American English. Saloon-keeper "one who keeps a drinking saloon" is by 1839.ETD saloon (n.).3

    saloop (n.)

    "sassafras tea, variously flavored," 1712, originally a variant of salep (q.v.).ETD saloop (n.).2

    Salopian (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to Shropshire" (1706); see Shropshire.ETD Salopian (adj.).2

    salsa (n.)

    1846 as a kind of sauce served with meat; 1975 as a kind of dance music; separate borrowings from Spanish, literally "sauce," from Vulgar Latin *salsa "condiment" (see sauce (n.)). In American Spanish it is especially used of a kind of relish with chopped-up ingredients; the music is a "blend" of Latin jazz and rock styles.ETD salsa (n.).2

    salsify (n.)

    biennial plant with an esculent root, native to the British Isles and extensively cultivated as a vegetable, 1710, from French salsifis, earlier sercifi, sassify (16c.), which is probably from Italian erba salsifica, from Old Italian salsifica, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from Latin sal "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt") + fricare "to rub" (see friction). Among the native names is goatsbeard.ETD salsify (n.).2

    salt (v.)

    Middle English salten, "prepare with salt, preserve (something) with salt," from Old English sealtan, from Proto-Germanic *salto- (see salt (n.)), and in part from the noun. Related: Salted; salting.ETD salt (v.).2

    salt (n.)

    Old English sealt "salt, sodium chloride, abundant substance essential to life, used as a condiment and meat preservative," from Proto-Germanic *saltom (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian, Gothic salt, Dutch zout, German Salz), from PIE root *sal- "salt."ETD salt (n.).2

    Applied from early 14c. to various substances resembling common salt. Modern chemistry sense "compound of an acid radical with a base radical" is from 1790; as an ultimate element in alchemy from 1580s. Meaning "experienced sailor" is attested by 1840 (Dana), probably a reference to the salinity of the sea. By 1570s as "that which gives piquancy to discourse or writing or liveliness to a person's character."ETD salt (n.).3

    Salt long was regarded as having power to repel spiritual and magical evil. Many metaphoric uses reflect that this was once a rare and important resource, such as worth one's salt "efficient, capable" (1830), salt of the earth "persons of worthiness" (Old English, after Matthew v.13). Belief that spilling salt brings bad luck is attested from 16c. To be above (or below) the salt (1590s) refers to customs of seating at a long table according to rank or honor, and placing a large salt-cellar in the middle of the dining table.ETD salt (n.).4

    Salt-shaker is from 1882. Salt-and-pepper (adj.) "of dark and light color" is by 1915 (pepper-and-salt, 1774, was an old name for a kind of cloth made from dark and light colored wools woven together). To take something with a grain of salt "accept with a certain amount of reserve" is from 1640s, from Modern Latin cum grano salis. The notion is perhaps "modification," hence "allowance, abatement, reserve."ETD salt (n.).5

    salt (adj.)

    Old English sealt, "salty, briny, containing salt," from Proto-Germanic *saltoz-, from the source of salt (n.). By c. 1300 as "treated with or preserved with salt" (salt fish).ETD salt (adj.).2

    saltation (n.)

    "a leap, a bound, act or movement of leaping," 1620s, from Latin saltationem (nominative saltatio) "a dancing; dance," noun of action from past-participle stem of saltare "to hop, to dance," frequentative of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Given several technical and scientific senses in 20c.ETD saltation (n.).2

    saltatorial (adj.)

    1776, "pertaining to dancing" (saltatory in the same sense is by 1745), from Latin saltatorius "pertaining to dancing," from saltare "to hop, to dance," frequentative of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). By 1832 in zoology, "leaping frequently or habitually; fitted for leaping; characterized by or pertaining to leaping." Related: Saltatory; saltatorially.ETD saltatorial (adj.).2

    salt-box (n.)

    also saltbox, 1610s, "receptacle for keeping salt for domestic use," from salt (n.) + box (n.). As a type of frame house with two stories in front, one in back, 1876, so called from resemblance of shape.ETD salt-box (n.).2

    salt-cellar (n.)

    "small vessel for holding salt, used on the table," mid-15c., a redundant formation from salt (n.) + saler "salt-cellar" (mid-14c.), from Old French salier "salt box" (Modern French salière) and Medieval Latin salare, from Latin salarium, noun use of adjective meaning "pertaining to salt," from a diminutive of Latin sal "salt" (from PIE root *sal- "salt").ETD salt-cellar (n.).2

    As the etymological connection between saler and "salt" was lost, a redundant salt- was tacked on to the beginning of the word; the second element was influenced by Old French sel "salt" and by unrelated English cellar.ETD salt-cellar (n.).3

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