- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈatɪk sɔːlt/, /ˈatɪk sɒlt/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈætɪk sɑlt/, /ˈætɪk sɔlt/, /-ɾɪk/
- Hyphenation: At‧tic salt
- (idiomatic) Pointed and delicate wit.
1760, Thomas Flloyd, “LUCANUS (Marcus Annæus)”, in Bibliotheca Biographica: A Synopsis of Universal Biography, Ancient and Modern. Containing a Circumstantial and Curious Detail of the Lives, Actions, Opinions, Writings, and Characters of the Most Celebrated Persons, of Both Sexes, of All Ranks, in All Countries, and in All Ages: Alphabetically Disposed. [...], volume II (Dac–Nor), London: Printed for J. Hinton, in Newgate-Street; L. Davis and C. Reymers, opposite Gray's-Inn, Holborn; R[ichard] Baldwin in Pater-noster-Row; and J[ohn] Walter, at Charing-Cross, OCLC paginated:
- His [Lucan's] wit, ſays Ablancourt, was full of urbanity, that Attic ſalt which the French call fine raillery; not obſcene, not groſs, not rude, but facetious, well-mannered, and well-bred.
1918, Leo Tolstoy; Louise and Aylmer Maude, translators, chapter IX, in Anna Karenina, a Novel (World's Classics; 210–211), volume I, [Cambridge?]: Oxford University Press, OCLC 6561729; republished London: Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford, publisher to the University, 1923, OCLC 10541346, part IV, page 435:
- Koznyshev, who knew better than anyone how at the end of a most abstract and serious dispute unexpectedly to administer a grain of Attic salt and thereby to change his interlocutor's frame of mind, did so now.
1941, H[ugh] F[raser] Stewart, “Pascal in Debate”, in The Secret of Pascal, Cambridge: At the University Press, OCLC 776538812; 1st paperback edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, ↑ISBN, page 7:
- But Attic salt is not the sole preservative against the decay that threatens all human writings; nor can mere eloquence rekindle the ashes of a dead controversy.
pointed and delicate wit