A good salt

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Resurgam

Member
Armenian-Russian
Hi!

I wonder what means: "a good salt" when said of a person. Is it the biblical "the salt of the earth" or is there another meaning? I've found this expression in the speach of an American. He talks about a very gifted guy and he says: "He’s a very wise young man. A good salt".

Thanx in advance!
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Can you give us a little more context, Resurgam? Who was speaking? Is the transcription otherwise accurate?
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I have never heard this expression. Can you give us a little more context? For example, who said it and who was he talking about? It sounds - and I have no real reason to think this - somehow old-fashioned to me.

    (Cross-posted with Florentia and Gergiewave)
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Thank you for the additional information. I'm afraid it means nothing to me, other than the possible explanations already suggested: a sailor, or "salt of the earth."
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Unfortunately, I agree with Florentia. Other than making it seem unlikely that the "sailor" meaning is intended, the article doesn't help me either (though I did enjoy reading it :)).

    I suspect that it's an expression from the American South, or perhaps more specifically Texas. Texans do have many unique expressions. I have lots of relatives from there, but not from the same part of Texas Crowell is from - and Texas is an enormous state, so that could make a difference.

    Now that I think about it, two of my Texan relatives will be visiting me over the weekend, so I'll try to remember to check with them. But my family is from Galveston, which is a long way from Crosby (which is where Crowell's from), so the expression may not be familiar to them, either.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's printed in the interview as direct speech, so it's possible that the speaker actually said "a good sort", but the person who told the story (or the reporter who took notes) thought he heard "salt"..
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Now that I think about it, two of my Texan relatives will be visiting me over the weekend, so I'll try to remember to check with them. But my family is from Galveston, which is a long way from Crosby (which is where Crowell's from), so the expression may not be familiar to them, either.
    I asked my two aunts and they have never heard this either. But as I said, Galveston is a long way (literally and figuratively) from Crosby. It's the same state, but they are very, very different places, so there's no reason why Galveston natives should use the same expressions as Crosby natives.
     

    Resurgam

    Member
    Armenian-Russian
    JustKate, thanx again! It's very nice of you to have asked your aunts! So either the journalist misheard the word or it's a specific expression. While the exact meaning remains a mystery, it sounds like a compliment :).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The only meaning of "salt" I know is a sailor, usually in the expression "an old salt".
    My experience, and some dictionaries echo it, is that this use reflects the accumulated wisdom/experience of the sailor, rather than just his age:D I fear the speaker in the OP might well be focusing only on the wisdom part when using the word, and is trying to say "he is a good wise man" (even though he is young).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I had a look at the Guardian link. Apparently that phrase was spoken by (American country-singer) "Crowell on the phone from Nashville".

    A perhaps unfamiliar accent, a phone connection - plenty of scope for mis-hearing the word.
     
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