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


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

Other Words from salient


saliently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for salient


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?

Salient first popped up in English as a word referring to the act of leaping. It is from the Latin verb salire, which means "to leap." Today, salient is usually used to describe things that "leap out," such as the salient features of a painting or the salient points in an argument.

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 How exactly that behind-the-scenes debate played out would be salient to future disputes over the doctrine. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 20 June 2022 But it’s the Monarch’s driver-optional feature that has become its most salient point of differentiation — and, with the Cal/OSHA petition, its source of controversy. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 June 2022 Its fate is uncertain—President Joe Biden hasn’t taken a stance on it, and the issue may be less salient if and when the House addresses it, which could end up being weeks or months from now. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 23 Mar. 2022 Social media has since brought the dynamics of reality TV and viral fame together to produce even more salient cultural icons and nonstop entertainment revolving around their lives — or at least what was portrayed from their lives online. Kat Tenbarge, NBC News, 22 July 2022 This was a novelty news item: an easy headline and a culturally salient joke about the overzealousness of teenage girls. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, 30 May 2022 In one sense, the aesthetic premise distinguishes Frammartino from many more conventional directors, who are content merely to depict the salient informational details of their scripts. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 11 May 2022 As far as health records go, the most salient law is HIPAA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Eric Boodman, STAT, 28 June 2022 Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, is another salient example of how political polarities have contributed to fragmentation, says Xiaomeng Lu, a geo-technologies director at Eurasia Group. Allison Morrow, CNN, 24 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The first salient finding was that when purchasing the S&P 500, the average daily return was 0.148%. Derek Horstmeyer, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2022 Are there other salient examples, from the Southwest or other regions, where cooperation has paid off in urban heat resilience efforts? Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Aug. 2022 As a historic and deadly heat wave scorches Western Europe, the report contained a salient warning for Australia’s cities, many of which are growing at faster rates than metropolitan areas in other rich countries. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 This journey should emphasize how the product or service solves a salient problem and include unbiased advice. Allbusiness, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Out of those Republicans, just two incumbents -- Young and Murkowski -- are facing reelection this year, as the issue of gun safety is becoming a salient campaign topic on both sides of the aisle. Rick Klein, ABC News, 24 June 2022 Liberals now must unmask, for politically salient and popular audiences, Alito’s hollow pretense of originalist and textualist piety. Simon Lazarus, The New Republic, 20 June 2022 Either way, the salient questions about philanthropy, for most people, have to do with the size and the quality of a donor’s heart and soul. Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 The Severodonetsk salient represents perhaps the most vulnerable point of the entire front line. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, 10 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of salient


1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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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Dictionary Entries Near salient



salient angle

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Salient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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