1548, from Fr. Salique, from M.L. Salicus, from the Salian Franks, a tribe that once lived near the Zuider Zee, the ancestors of the Merovingian kings, lit. "those living near the river Sala" (modern Ijssel). Salic Law, code of law of Gmc. tribes, was invoked 1316 by Philip V of France to exclude a woman from succeeding to the throne of France (and later to combate the French claims of Edward III of England), but the precise meaning of the passage is unclear.