[Ads-l] "(jump) salty"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 16 19:21:02 UTC 2015

My latest Wall St. Journal column is on "salty" ('exceptionally
bitter, angry, or upset'), which won the Most Likely to Succeed
category in the ADS WOTY voting. I talk about how it's a revival of
African-American slang dating back to the '30s, particularly in the
expression "jump salty" (which has come up on ADS-L several times).


The column includes a modest antedating for "jump salty," which OED2
has from 1938 and HDAS and GDoS have from 1936:

1935 _Philadelphia Tribune_ 18 July 11/1 Now as far as France and
Italy were concerned, Hitler was jumping salty, spreading that jive.

There are a few other examples from 1935 in the Philadelphia Tribune.
It's interesting that the early examples are found in Philly,
considering how "salty" has persisted in urban slang there.



Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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