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noun (1)

sal·​vo ˈsal-(ˌ)vō How to pronounce salvo (audio)
plural salvos or salvoes
: a simultaneous discharge of two or more guns in military action or as a salute
: the release all at one time of a rack of bombs or rockets (as from an airplane)
: a series of shots by an artillery battery with each gun firing one round in turn after a prescribed interval
: the bombs or projectiles released in a salvo
: something suggestive of a salvo: such as
: a sudden burst
a salvo of cheers
: a spirited attack
the first salvo of a political campaign


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salvoed; salvoing; salvos

transitive verb

: to release a salvo of

intransitive verb

: to fire a salvo


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noun (2)

plural salvos
: a mental reservation : proviso
: a means of safeguarding one's name or honor or allaying one's conscience : salve

Did you know?

Salvo derives via Italian and French from the Latin adjective salvus, meaning "healthy." Salve, another form of the word, means "hail!" in Latin and was used as a greeting by ancient Romans. (Incidentally, the English salve, referring to a medicinal substance, is no relation.) In English, salvo originally referred to a simultaneous discharge of two or more firearms performed as a salute—which is appropriate, since salute is another descendant of salvus. With time salvo came to refer to such a discharge performed as an act of war. Nowadays a salvo is most often an act of figurative war—such as a critical remark aimed at a debate opponent, or a business decision in a highly competitive industry.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
The first salvo in the wave of attacks came from Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, who revealed the bad blood that accumulated over the last 10 years in a tell-all memoir published in the days after Benedict’s funeral. Nicole Winfield,, 25 Jan. 2023 The latest salvo came in Antioch, where leaders this week approved capping many landlords at 3% annual price increases, despite opposition from property owners who say such regulations threaten their livelihoods. Fifth & Mission Podcast, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Sep. 2022 The salvo comes as Republicans are widely expected to take a majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. Tyler Olson, Fox News, 6 Aug. 2022 The latest official salvo has come from the U.S. That further raises the already long odds of a quick delisting and relisting elsewhere. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 4 May 2022 The first salvo came from freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, who was rebuked last week by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield for suggesting on a podcast that their colleagues partook in orgies and cocaine. Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2022 The latest salvo in the dispute with China came as the EU is preparing a new anti-coercion mechanism that would allow for countermeasures in situations like the Lithuanian case. Kevin Whitelaw,, 27 Jan. 2022 The latest salvo came Friday, when 22 states and the District of Columbia filed a brief with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that sided with Adams. Jim Saunders,, 29 Nov. 2021 The first salvo came with a presentation by Dr. Jonathan Sterne and his methodological analysis of vaccine data efficacy. Steve Brozak, Forbes, 18 Sep. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Italian salva, from French salve, from Latin, hail!, from salvus healthy — more at safe

Noun (2)

Medieval Latin salvo jure with the right reserved

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1839, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of salvo was in 1591


Dictionary Entries Near salvo

Cite this Entry

“Salvo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural salvos or salvoes
: the firing of two or more guns at the same time at one target or in a salute
: the release all at once of a rack of bombs or rockets
: the firing of one gun after another in a group of artillery pieces
: a sudden burst (as of cheers)

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