salt of the earth

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 29 02:14:06 UTC 2012

Dan Nussbaum wrote:
> At  dinner tonight, someone used the expression,"salt of the earth" and
> everybody wondered what it means. Can this august list serve elucidate.

There is an entry for "Salt of the Earth" at Michael Quinion's website
World Wide Words:

The OED includes the phrase under the headword salt:

salt, n.1
3. fig. a. the salt of the earth (after Matt. v. 13): the excellent of
the earth; formerly, in trivial use, the powerful, aristocratic, or
wealthy; now also applied to a person or persons of great worthiness,
reliability, honesty, etc.

The Phrase Finder website has an entry for "The salt of the earth":

The American Dialect Society -

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