Word of the Day: salient
Salient (adjective) SAIL-yunt
1 : moving by leaps or springs : jumping
2 : jetting upward
The speech was filled with so much twisted rhetoric that it was hard to identify any salient points.
“Among the projects: … an $18 million makeover of Freedom Hall, substantial new meeting and storage space, a new ballroom and a new $70 million exhibit hall…. Those were the salient recommendations of a new master plan for the Kentucky Exposition Center….” — Sheldon Shafer, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 28 Oct. 2016
Did You Know?
Salient first popped up in English in the 16th century as a term of heraldry meaning “rampant but leaning forward as if leaping.” By the mid-17th century, it had leaped into more general use in the senses of “moving by leaps or springs” or “spouting forth.” Those senses aren’t too much of a jump from the word’s parent, the Latin verb salire, which means “to leap.” Salire also occurs in the etymologies of some other English words, including somersault and sally, as well as Salientia, the name for an order of amphibians that includes frogs, toads, and other notable jumpers. Today, salient is usually used to describe things that are physically prominent (such as a salient nose) or that stand out figuratively (such as the salient features of a painting or the salient points in an argument).
When I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I admit it. I am wrong. I thought I knew the meaning to today’s word. I’ve known the term for many years, but I guess I never understood it. I must have heard it used in conversation somewhere and distorted its meaning in my head.
So, to fix my brain, I need to use it frequently, in the correct context. Let’s begin.
In sports, be it American Football, Futbol (or Soccer as it is known in the U.S.), Rugby, Field Hockey, Water Polo–you get the idea, the team moving the ball, down the field for a score is the salient team. In checkers, the act of jumping or leaping over your opponent’s checker is performing the salient move, removing a piece in the process. A monochrome holiday decoration that has a single brightly colored ornament contrasting the rest is a salient adornment. The person standing out in the crowd is salient.
Am I getting it right? Basically, as I understand the word, it’s akin to a brain teaser “What is different from all the rest?” or “Who or what is advancing better than another?”
I believe in uniqueness, conspicuousness, prominence, and difference. I write stories different from all the rest. Most of them are dark revelations of the human condition. They are meant to make one think, to question. “Could this really happen to the human race?” and “Could this happen to me?” and “OMG, this could happen to my child or me?”
Yes, I tend to write what many call ‘Dark Erotica.’ I don’t see my Mona Bendarova books that way but for certain, ‘Her Client’ and ‘The Breakup’ are.
My new one, coming out in the next few weeks is also in that category. The title is tentatively called ‘Trafficking Consortium’ though that is likely to change in the next couple of weeks when the book goes to publication. The premise being that just by going to your doctor for an annual physical, brings you to the attention of an international human trafficking ring and puts into motion a plan to sell you into human slavery. Sure, there are many stories, real and fiction, over the centuries of stealing people and selling them into bondage. Mine is a new take, and if you like reading these kinds of stories, I believe you will enjoy this one.
As usual, I found many images related to today’s term. Products and companies love the concept of trying to stand out from the crowd. Why not? I try to get my books to stand out among the plethora of books out there. Frequent followers of the Word of the Day will know that I look for unique images. Today, I found artwork and a digital representation of what needs to change to make the Barbie doll, ™Mattel, more realistic and proportional to a real human being.
Today’s bonus picture, available if you tweet from my page on Twitter is an image pertinent to the theme of the day. I hope you like it.
I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Do you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.
Have a great day and a better tomorrow.