Word of the Day : February 4, 2011


noun SAL-voh


1 : a simultaneous discharge of guns or bombs

2 a : a sudden burst

b : a spirited attack

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" is no relation, despite the coincidental spelling.) In English, "salvo" originally meant a discharge of firearms performed usually simultaneously 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 when we hear the word, it’s usually part of a figurative act of war -- whether it’s a critical remark aimed at a debate opponent, for example, or a business decision in a highly competitive industry.


The newspaper article was intended as a salvo against the mayor's policies.

"With the arrival of the New Year, Hollywood is prepared to hurl another salvo of films into theaters to see what sticks." -- From an article by Aaron Wilder in the Abilene [Texas] Reporter-News, January 5, 2011

Test Your Memory

What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "When a baby is born, many of the bones in its body have yet to __________"? The answer is ...


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