The heraldic sense "leaping" and the sense "projecting outward" are from Latin saliens, from saliō (“leap, spring”). The senses "prominent" and "pertinent" are relatively recently from the phrase "salient point", which is from the Latin punctum saliens, a translation of Aristotle's term for the embryonal heart visible in (opened) eggs, which he thought seemed to move already. Compare the German calque der springende Punkt.
- Worthy of note; pertinent or relevant.
- The article is not exhaustive, but it covers the salient points pretty well.
- (heraldry, usually of a quadruped) Depicted in a leaping posture.
- (often military) Projecting outwards, pointing outwards.
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- 1878, Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native, Book 2, chapter 5:
- With nearer approach these fragmentary sounds became pieced together, and were found to be the salient points of the tune called "Nancy's Fancy."
- 1898, H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds Book2, chapter 2:
- The last salient point in which the systems of these creatures differed from ours was in what one might have thought a very trivial particular.
- 1936, H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth:
- Warning me that many of the street signs were down, the youth drew for my benefit a rough but ample and painstaking sketch map of the town's salient features.
salient (plural salients)
- third-person plural future active indicative of saliō
- "they will leap, they will jump"