Word of the Day : December 6, 2016

salient

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adjective SAIL-yunt

Definition

1 : moving by leaps or springs : jumping

2 : jetting upward

3 : standing out conspicuously : prominent; especially : of notable significance

Examples

The speech was filled with so much twisted rhetoric that it was hard to identify any salient points.

"Among the projects: … an $18 million makeover of Freedom Hall, substantial new meeting and storage space, a new ballroom and a new $70 million exhibit hall…. Those were the salient recommendations of a new master plan for the Kentucky Exposition Center…." — Sheldon Shafer, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 28 Oct. 2016



Did You Know?

Salient first popped up in English in the 16th century as a term of heraldry meaning "rampant but leaning forward as if leaping." By the mid-17th century, it had leaped into more general use in the senses of "moving by leaps or springs" or "spouting forth." Those senses aren't too much of a jump from the word's parent, the Latin verb salire, which means "to leap." Salire also occurs in the etymologies of some other English words, including 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 or the salient points in an argument).



Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to create an adjective derived from Latin salire that can mean "marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose": d _ _ u _ t _ _ y.

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