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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).

(coarse; irritated, annoyed): Referencing the sharp, 'spicy' flavor of salt. (indignant): Perhaps implying the person is a crybaby, shedding salty tears, or derived from the preceding.


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


salty (comparative saltier, superlative saltiest)

  1. Tasting of salt.
  2. Containing salt.
    • 1957, Americas (English Ed.):
      At Zipaquirá, the salty ore is taken from the mine in chunks, then thrown into large tanks of water, where the salt is dissolved out. The resulting brine is drawn off into pipelines, containers, or tank trucks and sold []
    • 2008, Günter Grass (original author), Michael Henry Heim (translator), Peeling the Onion, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (→ISBN), page 223:
      My job was to couple the dumpers, full or empty, then uncouple them at the main shaft, and to open and close the weather door on the trip to the roof galleries, where the salty ore was dynamited and broken down.
  3. (figuratively) Coarse, provocative, earthy; said of language.
    • 1962, William Henry Davenport, The Good Physician: A Treasury of Medicine:
      In the following piece she has some characteristically salty things to say about what happens when law and medicine meet.
    • 2010, R. Tripp Evans, Grant Wood: A Life, Knopf (→ISBN), page 201:
      (In characteristically salty fashion, Sara admits: “I was no doubt a horrible little bitch" at this age.)
    • 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.
    • 2015 March 12, Bill Mann, “The film that makes me cry: Local Hero”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Plus bits of business involving a salty Russian seafarer and overflying warplanes.
  5. (slang) Irritated, annoyed, angry, bitter, bitchy.
    • 1946, Mezz Mezzrow; Bernard Wolfe, Really the Blues, New York: Random House, 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.
    • 2004, J. Ransom, Colla'd Greens Fuh-ya Soul (→ISBN), page 39:
      Misery can make you blame everybody else for your salty attitude. You think people just don't get where you're coming from. How can so many people be so stupid, you think. Well, your misery is very likely self-inflicted.
    • 2021, SB Akshobhya, The Panipuri Crimes, Sristhi Publishers & Distributors (→ISBN)
      "I regret being salty and bitchy towards you most of the time. Yesterday's offence is unforgivable, but can you forgive me for the day-to-day bickering in the past?” “Would you even care? Especially if you had not been caught outright [] "
  6. (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).

Coordinate terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]

  • 2015, Maciej Widawski, African American Slang, Cambridge University Press (→ISBN), page 246:
    salty adj. irritated, angry or hostile (BK, CM, GS, RK): [...] 2009 Police World: You shouldn't get salty toward me from talking down on these particular officers just because you yourself are a cop; 2013 Bitch Magazine: People are salty because she has the nerve to show her real-woman boobs on TV