Salt of the Earth

(Salt runs through our language, our history, and our veins; we can't live without salt)

The human need for salt has shaped history

Throughout human history, salt has been of great importance. Latin sal, "salt" and salsus, "salted" have given us sauce, soused, salary, sausage, and salad; in addition to salt and saline.

Salary is derived from salt because it was originally money paid to Roman soldiers either to buy salt or the salt itself was the payment which could be bartered for other desired products.

Sauce was originally any salty seasoning, and a saucer was a small dish to hold it; a salad was a dish of salted vegetables; soused meant pickled in salt water; so, a drunk was and is still often called "soused" or "pickled".

Sausage was a meat and meal heavily seasoned or preserved with salt; silt originally referred to a salty deposit or salt swamp; salt peter, a form of potassium nitrate, is used in gunpowder, and comes from Latin sal petrae, rock salt; and Latin sal, "salt", also appears in American-English words as salt, saline (salty, containing salt) and as sal in names of various patent medicines.

The idiom, "to take something with a grain of salt" also comes directly from a Latin phrase, cum grano salis. "Not worth his salt" is said to refer to the salt paid to Roman soldiers who apparently weren't worth what they were receiving.

Much more information about salt words may be examined at this sal-, sali- link.

Web Log Index or Blog Index lists of word entries for vocabulary enhancements.

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