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salt of the earth

an individual or group considered as representative of the best or noblest elements of society.
Origin of salt of the earth
1350-1400; Middle English; after Matthew 5:13 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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salt-of-the-earth in Culture

salt of the Earth definition

Basic, fundamental goodness; the phrase can be used to describe any simple, good person: “I like Mary: she's reliable, trustworthy, and straightforward; she's the salt of the Earth.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his followers, who are mainly fishermen and other simple people, “Ye are the salt of the Earth.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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