[Ads-l] "(jump) salty"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 19 23:57:28 UTC 2015

The OED has lists sense 3 for salty as "Piquant; racy" with a first
citation in 1866 (see further below). Below is a relevant citation for
sense 3 in 1859 that included some wordplay with "assault".

Date: May 5, 1859
Newspaper: The Daily Empire
Newspaper Location: Dayton, Ohio
Quote Page: 1; Column 3
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
"THEY FIT AN' FIT!"--A very salty case of
"assault and battery" was before the Probate
Court yesterday evening, in which two wo-
men were the parties. The plaintiff in the
cause, a good looking woman, with keen black
eyes, well dressed, and jewels on her fingers,
stated that she was unable to procure counsel,
and the Court assigned for her defense, Josiah
Lovell, Esq. The prosecutrix, a small, spunky
looking woman, stated that the defendant had
first slandered her, and then when she went to
ascertain what she meant by it, she got her
hair pulled, face and neck scratched, was
knocked down in the mud, had her face daubed
with it, and, indeed, her entire person was
smeared over!
[End excerpt]

[Begin excerpt from OED]
salty, adj. and n.
3. Piquant; racy.

1866   Athenaeum 10 Mar. 332/2   This. . only makes the books more
salty; and we must add, that the piquancy is not diminished by [etc.].

1978   J. A. Michener Chesapeake 359   When Captain Turlock learned
that his mate had studied with the rector, there was salty discussion
of that churchman's habits.
[End excerpt from OED]


On Sat, Jan 17, 2015 at 3:54 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "(jump) salty"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Jan 17, 2015 at 3:11 PM, Neal Whitman wrote:
>> I first heard "salty" in a song by a (white) DJ named Scott Beach in a track
>> on the album Dr. Demento's Dementia Royale, ~1980. It was an aggressively
>> dactylic chant called "Religion and Politics," and the relevant part went like
>> this:
>> Then he got salty and
>> Threatened to give me a
>> Punch in the mouth if I
>> Didn't shut up and I ...
>> http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Beach
> Perhaps he was one of those DJs who picked up "(jump) salty" from Lord
> Buckley's monologues, as Tom Dalzell notes in "Flappers 2 Rappers:
> American Youth Slang" (and as I mention in the WSJ column).
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> http://benzimmer.com/
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list