From Middle English salti, equivalent to salt +‎ -y.

Compare Saterland Frisian soaltig (salty), West Frisian sâltich (salty), Dutch zoutig (salty), German Low German soltig (salty), German salzig (salty).

(irritated, annoyed): From the sharp, spicy flavor of salt.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɒl.ti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒlti


salty (comparative saltier, superlative saltiest)

  1. Tasting of salt.
  2. Containing salt.
  3. (figuratively) Coarse, provocative, earthy; said of language.
    • 2021, Justin Driver, A Cheerleader Lands an F on Snapchat, but a B+ in Court, in: The New York Times, June 24 2021
      The court might have been tempted to construe the First Amendment as too momentous — too consequential — to vindicate a disappointed teenager’s salty outburst after being cut from the varsity cheer squad.
  4. (figuratively) Experienced, especially used to indicate a veteran of the naval services; salty dog (from salt of the sea).
    • 2004, David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas:
      There's a sailor's tavern at the end of the street where I could find companionship if I chose (one catches salty boys going in and out at any hour) but only music matters to me now.
  5. (US slang, dated) Irritated, annoyed
    • 1946, Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, Really the Blues, Payback Press 1999, page 61:
      Ray and Fuzzy were salty with our unhip no-playing piano player, because she broke time on the piano so bad that the strings yelled whoa to the hammers.
    • 1969, Iceberg Slim, Pimp: The Story of My Life, Holloway House Publishing, page 162:
      I want to beg your pardon for making you salty that night.
  6. (Internet slang, derogatory) Indignant or offended due to over-sensitivity, humourlessness, disappointment, or defeat (implying the person is a crybaby, shedding salty tears); said of interlocutors expressing indignation, or merely disagreement.
  7. (linguistics) Pertaining to the Sardinian language and those dialects of Catalan, spoken in the Balearic Islands and along the coast of Catalonia, that use definitive articles descended from the Latin ipse (self) instead of the Latin ille (that).

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