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[sey-lee-uh nt, seyl-yuh nt] /ˈseɪ li ənt, ˈseɪl yənt/
prominent or conspicuous:
salient traits.
projecting or pointing outward:
a salient angle.
leaping or jumping:
a salient animal.
Heraldry. (of a beast) represented as leaping:
a lion salient.
a salient angle or part, as the central outward-projecting angle of a bastion or an outward projection in a battle line.
Physical Geography. a landform that extends out beyond its surroundings, as a spur projecting from the side of a mountain.
Compare reentrant (def 4).
Origin of salient
1555-65; < Latin salient- (stem of saliēns, present participle of salīre to spring, jump), equivalent to sali- verb stem + -ent- -ent
Related forms
saliently, adverb
unsalient, adjective
unsaliently, adverb
1. important; striking, remarkable.
1. inconspicuous, unimportant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for salient
  • Gather necessary information and salient facts before making an important decision.
  • The salient quality of them all is their sincerity and directness.
  • It's a salient feature of modern media that being thought to be popular can make you more popular.
  • Here is my take on several of their more salient observations.
  • Basically if you want to make a frightening scene you take whatever characteristics of that scene are salient and turn them align.
  • In other cases, the meaning of salient beliefs is quite different than that which outsiders might imagine.
  • The salient characteristic of some forms of communication is how little of any substance is being communicated, and how poorly.
  • In some contexts, these attributes are more salient than in others.
  • Knight's lack of size only makes that point more salient.
  • The salient point in this article is the ethical and/or political difficulty in establishment of exploration or remedy.
British Dictionary definitions for salient


prominent, conspicuous, or striking: a salient feature
(esp in fortifications) projecting outwards at an angle of less than 180° Compare re-entrant (sense 1)
(geometry) (of an angle) pointing outwards from a polygon and hence less than 180° Compare re-entrant (sense 2)
(esp of animals) leaping
(military) a projection of the forward line into enemy-held territory
a salient angle
Derived Forms
salience, saliency, noun
saliently, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin salīre to leap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for salient

1560s, "leaping," a heraldic term, from Latin salientem (nominative saliens), present participle of salire "to leap," from PIE root *sel- (4) "to jump" (cf. Greek hallesthai "to leap," Middle Irish saltraim "I trample," and probably Sanskrit ucchalati "rises quickly").

It was used in Middle English as an adjective meaning "leaping, skipping." The meaning "pointing outward" (preserved in military usage) is from 1680s; that of "prominent, striking" first recorded 1840, from salient point (1670s), which refers to the heart of an embryo, which seems to leap, and translates Latin punctum saliens, going back to Aristotle's writings. Hence, the "starting point" of anything.


1828, from salient (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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