Middle English Dictionary Entry

salt n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) Salt (sodium chloride); (b) salt as a condiment; also, salted food; also, fig. wisdom; (c) salt as a healing application or an ingredient of medicinal recipes; (d) a salt dish, saltcellar; maken ~, ?to fill a salt dish; (e) a salt pit; a salt wasteland [quot.: a1382]; also as place name; (f) ~ brent, brent ~, salt treated with fire or heat; ~ commune, commune ~, ordinary salt; ~ memphiticum, Egyptian salt; ~ preparat, ?refined salt; gret ~, coarse salt; smal ~, fine salt; whit ~, white salt; (g) in proverbs and prov. phrases.
In cpds. & combs.: (a) ~ gemme, rock salt; also, a solution of rock salt [cp. sal-gemme n.]; (b) ~ catte, a lump of salt; a pillar of salt; ~ corn, a grain of salt; -- used fig.; ~ ston [OE sealt-stān], = ~ catte; also, a rock [quot.: ?a1500]; (c) ~ ark, a salt box; ~ fat [OE sealt-fæt], ?a tub for salting meat; ?also, a saltcellar; ~ kag, a salt keg; ~ led, a salt kettle; ~ pie [?error for ~ pixe], a vessel for holding baptismal salt; ~ tubbe, a salt tub; (d) ~ hole, ?a salt pit or cavern; ?a cave or shed for storing salt; ~ pit, a salt pit or well; ~ veine, a vein of salt; (e) ~ peni, a payment to the lord of a manor for a service pertaining to salt; ~ silver, a rent paid in commutation of the service of carrying salt from market; (f) ~ makere, a maker of salt; ~ metere, a measurer of salt; ~ weller, one who boils saltwater to make salt; (g) bai ~, q.v.; peitou ~, ~ of peitou, salts de peitou [see Peitou n.(d)].
One of various substances resembling common salt; ~ argoille, potassium carbonate; ~ armoniak, ammonium chloride [see armoniak n.(b)]; ~ nitre, a naturally occurring salt, prob. sodium carbonate; ~ sode, crystallized sodium carbonate [cp. sal-nitre n.]; ~ tartar, potassium carbonate.
(a) In place names and street names [see Smith PNElem.2.96]; (b) in surnames.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • (1440) Invent.in Scrope Castle Combe230 : It. a syltfate wyth 1 q'rter whete.
  • Note: New spelling

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc., see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. salt.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc. (sense 1b.(a)), see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. salt gem.