salient

adjective
sa·​lient | \ ˈsā-lyənt How to pronounce salient (audio) , -lē-ənt \

Definition of salient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : moving by leaps or springs : jumping
2 : jetting upward a salient fountain
3a : projecting beyond a line, surface, or level
b : standing out conspicuously : prominent especially : of notable significance similar to … Prohibition, but there are a couple of salient differences — Tony Gibbs

salient

noun
sa·​lient | \ ˈsā-lyənt How to pronounce salient (audio) , -lē-ənt \

Definition of salient (Entry 2 of 2)

: something (such as a promontory) that projects outward or upward from its surroundings especially : an outwardly projecting part of a fortification, trench system, or line of defense

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Other Words from salient

Adjective

saliently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for salient

Adjective

noticeable, remarkable, prominent, outstanding, conspicuous, salient, striking mean attracting notice or attention. noticeable applies to something unlikely to escape observation. a piano recital with no noticeable errors remarkable applies to something so extraordinary or exceptional as to invite comment. a film of remarkable intelligence and wit prominent applies to something commanding notice by standing out from its surroundings or background. a doctor who occupies a prominent position in the town outstanding applies to something that rises above and excels others of the same kind. honored for her outstanding contributions to science conspicuous applies to something that is obvious and unavoidable to the sight or mind. conspicuous bureaucratic waste salient applies to something of significance that merits the attention given it. the salient points of the speech striking applies to something that impresses itself powerfully and deeply upon the observer's mind or vision. the region's striking poverty

Did You Know?

Adjective

Salient first popped up in English in the mid-17th century, and in its earliest English uses meant "moving by leaps or springs" (as in "a salient cheetah") or "spouting forth" (as in "a salient fountain"). Those senses aren't too much of a jump from the word's parent, the Latin verb salire, which means "to leap." Salire has leaped into many English words; it's also an ancestor of somersault and sally, as well as Salientia, the name for an order of amphibians that includes frogs, toads, and other notable jumpers. Today, salient is usually used to describe things that are physically prominent (such as a salient nose) or that stand out figuratively (such as the salient features of a painting).

Examples of salient in a Sentence

Adjective Then there were those who doubted the need for radio in the first place, since the telegraph was already ubiquitous. Marconi's salient achievement was to realize that radio waves could be transmitted across vast distances, an incalculable step forward in mass communications. — Kevin Baker, New York Times Book Review, 5 Nov. 2006 A 2002 study conducted at the University of Illinois by Diener and Seligman found that the most salient characteristics shared by the 10% of students with the highest levels of happiness and the fewest signs of depression were their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them. — Claudia Wallis, Time, 17 Jan. 2005 The difference between the people Liebling chose to write about and today's celebrity culture is the difference between the "profile" and the "portrait." A profile is an outline, a concise rendering of the most salient facts, though the facts may be inessential and even inaccurate in their generality. … A portrait, on the other hand, is a revelation, an exposure. — Lee Siegel, Harper's, December 2004 Kermeen cites "a book published in 1882" that says of ghosts at the Myrtles: "The lights are never extinguished at the plantation. When the lights are all out, something always happens." Kermeen does not further identify this book (another source says it was published "in 1900"), but the salient point here is that it apparently did not mention the Chloe tale. That suggests it was probably unknown until relatively recently. — Joe Nickell, Skeptical Inquirer, September/October 2003 Noun The attempts of the Teutonic armies to envelop and destroy some portion of the Russian forces involved the creation of several dangerous salients in the Russian line, followed by an endeavor to close the neck of each salient by attacks from both sides and so to isolate the armies forming its apex. — Douglas Wilson Johnson, Topography and Strategy in the War, 1917
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The issue has become salient for larger institutions especially as that monied, elite audience has shrunk, leaving the question of funding in the balance. Elizabeth Nonemaker, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore’s Mind on Fire offers a mind-bending alternative to traditional classical music performances," 6 Dec. 2019 With the beginning of 2020 just weeks away — when the question why this can’t be settled by the election becomes even more salient — Democrats want to get it over with as soon as possible. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 5 Dec. 2019 Photo: Marius Brugge) Judah Friedlander specializes in making salient points about hot-button topics, in a goofball sort of way. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "'30 Rock' star to perform in Detroit, cover issues 'nobody wants to talk about'," 4 Dec. 2019 This time the records are not directly salient to the impeachment articles. The Economist, "Follow the money The Supreme Court wades into the battle over Donald Trump’s finances," 16 Dec. 2019 For students of the Founding, though, the film’s status as an early example of Hollywood self-critique is not as salient as the historical currents running through it. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Founding vs. The Old West in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," 25 Nov. 2019 Another crucial takeaway, which may be particularly salient to Econ 101 students, is that the simple answer may turn out not to be the right one. Peter R. Orszag, Twin Cities, "Peter Orszag: Taylor Swift has an economics lesson for us," 25 June 2019 With such salient evidence supporting the replacement of saturated fat, including coconut oil, with unsaturated fat for optimal cardiovascular health, where do the myriad health claims for coconut oil come from? Vasanti Malik, sun-sentinel.com, "Is there a place for coconut oil in a healthy diet?," 19 Nov. 2019 The group, which operates as a separate entity from Covenant Christian School, meets approximately twice a month to work on projects pertaining to suicide prevention, mental health awareness and other salient issues in the community. Gwen Aviles, NBC News, "'It was traumatic': After being outed, lesbian teacher is fired from Christian school," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As salient was the ability of a force purported to include dozens of drones and cruise missiles to evade air-defense systems in eastern Saudi Arabia near Bahrain. Seth J. Frantzman, National Review, "The Attack on Saudi Arabia Is the Crisis Iran Was Waiting For," 17 Sep. 2019 Health care dominates the race between Messrs. MacArthur and Kim, but the state’s high property taxes make tax policy salient too. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "Some GOP Lawmakers Reckon With Their Tax Vote Record," 1 Nov. 2018 The challenge for Democrats has been keeping health care salient. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "How Democrats Plan to Turn Kennedy’s Retirement Into a Political Win," 3 July 2018 The walls of the Hall of Memory are inscribed with the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in the Ypres salient before 16 August 1917. Smithsonian, "World War I Cemeteries & Memorials Around the World," 26 May 2017 The walls of the Hall of Memory are inscribed with the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in the Ypres salient before 16 August 1917. Smithsonian, "World War I Cemeteries & Memorials Around the World," 26 May 2017

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

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First Known Use of salient

Adjective

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1828, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for salient

Adjective and Noun

Latin salient-, saliens, present participle of salire to leap — more at sally

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Time Traveler for salient

Time Traveler

The first known use of salient was in 1646

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Salient.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salient. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for salient

salient

adjective
How to pronounce salient (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of salient

formal : very important or noticeable

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More from Merriam-Webster on salient

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for salient

Spanish Central: Translation of salient

Nglish: Translation of salient for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of salient for Arabic Speakers

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