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Earn Your Salt - What Does it Really Mean?

October 17, 2014

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You can hear different conversations every day. Often, you can recognize some phrases that have also been used by people for decades. “Earn your salt” is just one of those popular phrases and idiomatic expressions that you might have heard to people talking with each other especially a conversation between those who are making their living from the water. Have you ever asked yourself about the definition and the etymology of the phrase?When you actually search on “earn your salt”, you can find various informative and wonderful information that you can get. One reference actually suggested that the phrase “earn your salt” began with those ancient Romans and its origin could date back to the early time of 900 BC. In those times, the Roman armies are paid for the labor in salarium which was an allowance in order to buy salt.

Salt was regarded as one of the most significant spices long ago and it is still true today. It was also regarded as a compound that is significant to the human health. In that era, the word soldier literally meant ‘the one who is paid in salt.’

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After so many years, the word ‘salarium’ was actually shortened and now, it became salary in the English Language. Then, when you say that someone earn his or her salt, you are actually saying that he/she is worthy of the wages that he/she earns, but this can also denote an individual who is worthy of admiration or respect.The meaning of the expression “earn your salt” is actually very simple. “Earn your salt”, or “worth your salt”, when you take it to its etymological meaning means that someone who worth his pay. This is actually an American English idiom. It had caught the attention of various individuals, most particularly those who study semantics.

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Some account also provide a more comprehensive definition of the phrase. According to those accounts, it means that an individual is able to provide his/her capabilities to earn respect from other people. This English idiom is common used in order to speak of those who are making a live from the water. They are those lifeguards, surfers, swimmers, divers, and others.There is no doubt to say that “earn your salt” is highly interesting expression. For that reason, a lot of people have been looking for the origin of the phrase. The root of this expression can be traced from the Roman practice but it is of note that the use of salt as a barter material has been practices in several places.

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