[Ads-l] "(jump) salty"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 20 01:16:33 UTC 2015


Sorry if I missed it upthread, but the OED's entry for "(jump) salty" at sense 5 begins with these two cites from 1938; I love the nifty verbing of "Reno" in the latter:

1938   Amer. Speech 13 314/1   Jump salty, implies an unexpected change in a person's attitude or knowledge. The person may become suddenly angry, or an unhipped person may become hipped.
1938   N.Y. Amsterdam News 26 Feb. 17/2   Let's sound a high C on the postoffice man whose Girl Friday is ‘jumpin' salty’ 'cause he won't Reno the wife who thinks but isn't sure.

Although these are both under the same general entry, I'll have to take the OED's word for it that this clearly AAE usage is derived from the "piquant, racy" one at sense 3 that Garson mentions below.  I always associated "salty language", perhaps wrongly, with usage by foul-mouthed sailors (more specifically, navy men).

LH

On Jan 19, 2015, at 6:57 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:

> 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]
> 
> Garson
> 
> 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 ...
>>> 
>>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__en.m.wikipedia.org_wiki_Scott-5FBeach&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=w3vfViVw1TIVBsfZ3euoUDSnnduC07naWMh2QDLHCpw&s=pRSNmKesg-CEhAGVfRC3GpRbmAabJtfuuNOCu7OUTwk&e= 
>> 
>> 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
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__benzimmer.com_&d=AwIBAw&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=w3vfViVw1TIVBsfZ3euoUDSnnduC07naWMh2QDLHCpw&s=-VVU3bKlEqx3WRDDDtzBxJiclRGEsHLTuNZlDtiN8qY&e= 
>> 
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