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Earn Your Salt - What Does it Really Mean?

January 20, 2016

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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. One of those widely-known phrases is the “earn your salt.” It is an idiomatic expression that you have heard when those lifeguards, divers, swimmers or surfers are having a conversation. 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. During those times, the Roman soldiers were being paid for their work in salarium, an allowance needed 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. During that time, the term soldier meant ‘the person who is paid in salt’. The term soldier in that period is different. It meant ‘a person who is being paid in salt.’

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For various years, the word ‘salarium’ was the shortened. In today’s English Language, it is what people call salary. So if you say that he earn his salt, what you mean to say is that he ought to receive that salary that he earns, but it can also mean that he is worthy of the value and admiration he earns.“Earn your salt” can always be defined in simple terms. It can be understood by people. “Earn your salt”, or “worth your salt”, when you take it to its etymological meaning means that someone who worth his pay. This expression is an American English Idiom that had also fascinated many people, especially those who study words and their meanings.

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Other references also revealed that this idiomatic expression has the meaning of someone who has proven their skills that they have earned admiration 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.Indeed, “earn your salt” is a very interesting phrase that is why many people have been researching about its origin. If you search more about this American English idiom, you will find that most explanations of this roots lead to the Roman practice, however, it is important to note that the use of this spices as a barter material has been practiced in different empires all over the world.

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