salient

adjective
sa·​lient | \ˈsā-lyənt, -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, -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

While airstrikes may indeed be used as a means of escalation, states are likely aware that airstrikes are a limited signal — and realize that the most salient crises cannot be resolved with airstrikes alone or without a stronger signal of resolve. Susan Hannah Allen, Washington Post, "The U.S. just bombed 3 sites in Syria. Here’s what we know about why states choose airstrikes.," 14 Apr. 2018 The other dynamic here is that Trump’s Twitter feed is a lot more salient to political obsessives than to most Americans. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The messy reality of Donald Trump’s poll numbers," 5 July 2018 And herein lies the most salient difference between Denton and he: Denton is only a millionaire. Stephen Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "New tech books: ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Broad Band,’ ‘The Truth Machine’," 1 June 2018 That’s especially salient for Paonia, said Brad Burton, a petroleum geologist at Western State Colorado University. Zack Colman, Scientific American, "A Trump Oil Boom Could Transform This Rocky Mountain Landscape," 13 July 2018 One of the more salient aspects of The Glitch Mob’s live setup is their decision to angle their MIDI controllers down towards the crowd. Michael Sundius, Billboard, "Inside The Glitch Mob's Innovative Blade 2.0 Stage: Exclusive Interview," 31 May 2018 Faced with salient examples of climate change, Walker convened a task force last year that holds regular meetings throughout the state to gather evidence. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil," 12 July 2018 Heinz Fromm, the head of the German domestic intelligence, resigned in 2012 over failures in the investigation into the group and the premature shredding of an internal document salient to the case. New York Times, "Neo-Nazi Terrorist Jailed for Life in Case That Shamed Germany’s Spies," 11 July 2018 Over the decades, the North Korean regime has abducted South Korean and Japanese citizens, and the issue is among the most salient and emotional in Tokyo. David Nakamura, chicagotribune.com, "Once forceful on North Korean human rights abuses, Trump is mostly mum during summit with Kim," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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

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

Noun

see salient entry 1

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Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for salient

The first known use of salient was in 1646

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More Definitions for salient

salient

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of salient

: very important or noticeable

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More from Merriam-Webster on 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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