salary

noun

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

Examples of salary in a Sentence

She was offered a salary of $50,000 a year. Employees receive an annual increase in salary.
Recent Examples on the Web Lawyers at the top of their game are netting eight-figure salaries as law firms take on bigger revenue-generating clients. Beth Greenfield, Fortune, 2 July 2024 Because the salary slots of first-round picks are pre-assigned, the Heat were allowed at the start of the league’s 2024-25 salary-cap calendar to reach the agreement with Ware, the center taken out of Indiana at No. 15. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 2 July 2024 Deferring salary is generally not a sound financial strategy for a player because of inflation, according to the Major League Baseball Players Assn. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 1 July 2024 Move over Bobby Bonilla—there is a new leader in the clubhouse for the most famous salary deferral in baseball history. Kurt Badenhausen, Sportico.com, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for salary 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'salary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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 played 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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salary. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

salary

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

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

Word Origin
The word salary is a loanword from Latin salarium, a derivative of sal, "salt," and perhaps originally short for salarium argentum, "salt money." According to a customary explanation, it was at one time money paid to Roman soldiers with which they were supposed to buy salt, but nothing in the known history of the word supports this. From the evidence of documents and inscriptions, the salarium was a fixed payment, introduced under the rule of Caesar Augustus, that was made to officials of a certain rank. The word was also applied to various other fees and payments to individuals by the Roman state or a community. Presumably salarium was a kind of euphemism, since the sums involved were much greater than would have been needed just to buy salt.

Legal Definition

salary

noun
sal·​a·​ry
plural salaries
: fixed compensation paid regularly for services
salaried adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on salary

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