They're wonderful. They're obscure. They're often quite pointless.
Lookups for 'Salacious' Spike After New Reports of Trump's Ties to Russia
Salacious (“arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination”) leapt to the top of our lookups on the morning of January 11th, following multiple reports concerning Donald Trump, Russia, and memos written by a former British intelligence agent.
Seth Myers presses Kellyanne Conway on salacious allegations on Russian ties
—usatoday.com (headline), 11 Jan. 2017
While Seth Meyers was getting changed for Late Night on Tuesday night, the controversial news broke about Donald Trump's alleged relationship with Russia. Who was scheduled to be Meyers' guest but Kellyanne Conway, and Meyers took this opportunity to grill her about the salacious 35-page dossier.
—Sammy Nickalls, esquire.com 10 Jan. 2017
Salacious has a fascinating origin; the word comes from the Latin word salax (“lustful” or “fond of leaping”), which in turn comes from salire (meaning “to leap”). The word shares an etymological connection with a number of words which now have little semantic connection to salaciousness, such as assail (“to assault”), desultory (“marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose”), and resilient “tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”).
The earliest written use of salacious currently found in our files comes from 1607:
Learned Magitian skild in hidden Artes,
As well in prior as posterior parts,
I see thou kennist the secrets of all sorts,
Of sharpe siringues and salacious sports:
Venerall Buboes, Tubers Ulcerous,
And Iames Defisticanckers venemous.
—Barnabe Barnes, The Diuils Charter, A Tragaedie Conteining the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the Sixt, 1607
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