General English

General Science


  • noun sodium chloride as part of the diet
  • verb to preserve food by keeping it in salt or in salt water


  • The general chemical name for the compound formed when an acid reacts with a base (usually an alkali) as e.g. sodium acetate, which is formed by the reaction of acetic acid with the corrosive alkali sodium hydroxide or with sodium bicarbonate which is itself the salt of a weaker acid. The common example is sodium chloride, formed from the highly corrosive hydrochloric acid and it has appropriated the name salt to itself.
  • sodium chloride is used extensively in food processing and cooking as a taste item, to extract plant juices in fermented vegetables, e.g. sauerkraut, to solubilize proteins in meat, to assist emulsification, e.g. frankfurters, and to act as a preservative in e.g. salted fish and meat


  • noun a crystalline compound, usually containing a metal, formed when an acid is neutralised by an alkali


  • noun a substance consisting of small white tangy-tasting crystals, consisting mainly of sodium chloride, used for flavouring and preserving food


  • adjective containing common salt
  • adjective cured or preserved or seasoned with salt
  • noun small white tangy-tasting crystals consisting mainly of sodium chloride, used to flavour or preserve food

Origin & History of “salt”

Salt was a key element in the diet of our Indo-European ancestors, and their word for it, *sal-, is the source of virtually all the modern European terms, including Russian sol’, polish sól, Serbo-Croat so, Irish salann, and Welsh halen. Greek háls has given English halogen (19th c.). And Latin sāl, besides evolving into French sel, Italian sale, Spanish sal, and Romanian sare, has contributed an enormous range of vocabulary to English, including salad, salary, saline (15th c.), salsa, sauce, saucer, and sausage. Its Germanic descendant was *salt-, which has produced Swedish, Danish, and English salt and Dutch zout, and also lies behind English silt and souse.