salt·​wa·​ter | \ ˈsȯlt-ˌwȯ-tər How to pronounce saltwater (audio) , -ˌwä- \

Definition of saltwater

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : consisting of or containing salt water saltwater lagoons a saltwater solution — compare freshwater
2 : living in or taken from salt water saltwater fish saltwater pearls
3 : relating to, associated with, or suitable for salt water a saltwater rod saltwater tales

salt water

variants: or less commonly saltwater

Definition of salt water (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : water to which salt (as sodium chloride) has been added flush the wound with salt water We think all turkeys are improved by brining (soaking in salt water), but it's a cumbersome task that few holiday schedules can accommodate.Gourmet
2 : water (as of the ocean) that naturally contains a significant amount of salt : seawater This deck shoe uses a patented leather that's virtually immune to salt water.— Michael Verdon also : a body of salt water We hiked on, finally reaching the island's highest point, a lookout with sweeping views far out across the salt water. — Wendy Williams — compare fresh water

Examples of saltwater in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Those fish -- caught in fresh and saltwater bodies across the state -- are analyzed in laboratories to determine how much of certain toxins a person might ingest by eating that fish. Dennis Pillion |,, "What not to eat: Alabama’s 2019 fish consumption advisories," 17 July 2019 Seminars by top fresh and saltwater pros run daily. Bink Grimes, Houston Chronicle, "Outdoors report: March 2," 1 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of saltwater


1528, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of saltwater was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Saltwater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of saltwater

: of, relating to, or living in salt water


salt·​wa·​ter | \ ˈsȯlt-ˌwȯ-tər How to pronounce saltwater (audio) , -ˌwä- \

Kids Definition of saltwater

: relating to or living in salt water a saltwater fish

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