sal·​a·​ry ˈsal-rē How to pronounce salary (audio)
plural salaries
: fixed compensation paid regularly for services
ˈsal-rēd How to pronounce salary (audio)

Example Sentences

She was offered a salary of $50,000 a year. Employees receive an annual increase in salary.
Recent Examples on the Web The average salary in the NFL last season: more than $2 million. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, 7 Mar. 2023 More told the Tampa Bay Timeshe and his wife moved from San Francisco to Tampa for more space, better weather and—most importantly—his same Bay Area salary, but without the California taxes. Jane Thier, Fortune, 3 Mar. 2023 Gynzhul and the four others in her bunker survive off humanitarian aid and the salary from her administrative job in the village — 4,000 hryvnia ($109) per month. Naomi Schanen, Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2023 Decisions made using measurements are doomed to overvalue factors that can be measured: salary over fulfillment in careers, quantity over quality in friendships. Lucy Liu, WIRED, 1 Mar. 2023 After spending 18 years climbing the corporate ladder, the engineer had the impressive title, big salary, and corner office. Amelia Harnish, Women's Health, 28 Feb. 2023 Texas’ minimum salary for teachers starts at just under $34,000. Dallas News, 27 Feb. 2023 Here's a look at the Top 10 tight ends in the league, ranked by average annual salary, per, a site that tracks NFL player contracts (through Feb. 21, 2023). Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 22 Feb. 2023 Hiring a full-time employee is expensive, with estimates putting the cost per hire at three to four times the salary of each position. Serenity Gibbons, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'salary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English salarie, salaire "compensation, payment," borrowed from Anglo-French (also continental Old French), borrowed from Latin salārium "official pay given to the holder of a civil or military post," noun derivative from neuter of salārius "of or relating to salt," from sal-, sāl "salt" + -ārius -ary entry 2 — more at salt entry 1

Note: The notion that Latin salārium originally referred to money given to Roman soldiers to buy salt is a popular one, but it has no basis in ancient sources. It rests on the inference that salārium was originally short for an unattested phrase salārium argentum "salt money," which would have been parallel to the contextually better attested words calceārium "money for shoes" (from calceus "shoe") or vestiārium "allowance in money or kind to provide for clothing" (from vestis "clothes"). The inference can be found in Charlton Lewis and Charles Short's A Latin Dictionary (1879), many times reprinted, though it was copied from earlier dictionaries, as the Latin-German dictionaries of Wilhelm Freund (1840) and I.J.G. Scheller (1783) (Scheller, however, takes dōnum "gift, prize" to have been the understood word). Pliny the Elder has been cited as support for the soldier's pay explanation, though the text of his Historia naturalis refers only to some undefined role salt paid in relation to honors in war, "from which the word salārium is derived" ("[sal] honoribus etiam militiaeque interponitur salariis inde dictis"; 31.89). As Pliny is extolling the virtues of salt in this chapter, it seems likely that if he knew of a better explanation for the word, he would have mentioned it. Clearly salt was somehow involved in the notion of official compensation in early imperial Rome, but to speculate further on its function is no more than guessing. (Compare "Salt and salary: were Roman soldiers paid in salt?," blog post by New Zealand classicist Peter Gainsford, Kiwi Hellenist, January 11, 2017, available online 5/26/22.)

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of salary was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near salary

Cite this Entry

“Salary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


sal·​a·​ry ˈsal-(ə-)rē How to pronounce salary (audio)
plural salaries
: money paid at regular times for work or services : stipend

Middle English salarie "money paid to a worker," from Latin salarium "salt money, pension, salary," derived from sal "salt"

Legal Definition


plural salaries
: fixed compensation paid regularly for services
salaried adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on salary

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