AskDefine | Define salt

Dictionary Definition

salt adj
1 containing or filled with salt; "salt water" [ant: fresh]
2 of speech that is painful or bitter; "salt scorn"- Shakespeare; "a salt apology"
3 one of the four basic taste sensations; like the taste of sea water [syn: salty]

Noun

1 a compound formed by replacing hydrogen in an acid by a metal (or a radical that acts like a metal)
2 white crystalline form of especially sodium chloride used to season and preserve food [syn: table salt, common salt]
3 negotiations between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics opened in 1969 in Helsinki designed to limit both countries' stock of nuclear weapons [syn: Strategic Arms Limitation Talks]
4 the taste experience when salt is taken into the mouth [syn: saltiness, salinity]

Verb

1 add salt to
2 sprinkle as if with salt; "the rebels had salted the fields with mines and traps"
3 add zest or liveliness to; "She salts her lectures with jokes"
4 preserve with salt; "people used to salt meats on ships"

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

Old English sealt, from Germanic, from Indo-European. Cognate with Dutch zout, German Salz, Swedish salt; and with Greek ἅλς, Latin sal, Welsh halen, Russian соль.

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A common substance recognised chemically as sodium chloride (NaCl), used extensively as a condiment and preservative.
  2. One of the compounds formed from the reaction of an acid with a base, where a positive ion replaces a hydrogen of the acid.
  3. A kind of marsh at the shore of a sea (short for salt marsh, apparently not in a wide-spread use).
  4. A sailor (also old salt).
  5. Additional bytes inserted into a plaintext message before encryption, in order to increase randomness and render brute-force decryption more difficult.

Translations

common substance
  • Aramaic:
    Syriac: ܡܠܚܐ (melkhā, melkho)
    Hebrew: מלחא (melkhā, melkho)
  • Chinese: Mandarin: , yan2 Cantonese: jim4
  • Croatian: sol
  • Czech: sůl
  • Danish: salt
  • Dutch: zout
  • Finnish: suola
  • French: sel
  • German: Salz, Kochsalz
  • Greek:
    Ancient: ἅλας (alas)
    Modern: αλάτι (aláti)
  • Hebrew:
  • Hindi: नमक (namak)
  • Hungarian: só
  • Icelandic: salt
  • Indonesian: garam
  • Japanese: (しお, shio)
  • Korean: 소금 (sogeum)
  • Kurdish: خوێ
  • Lao: ເກືອ
  • Latvian: sāls
  • Norwegian: salt, bordsalt
  • Old Frisian: salt
  • Russian: соль (sol´)
  • Scottish Gaelic: salann
  • Slovak: soľ
  • Slovene: sol
  • Spanish: sal
  • Swedish: salt, koksalt, bordssalt
  • Tagalog: asin
  • Telugu: ఉప్పు (uppu)
  • Urdu: (namak)
  • West Frisian: sâlt
  • Yiddish: זאַלץ
compound of an acid and a base
salt marsh
See: salt marsh
  • French: marais salants
  • German: Salzmarsch
  • Spanish: salina
sailor
additional bytes inserted into an encryption

Derived terms

Adjective

  1. Salty.
  2. Saline.

Translations

salty
  • Danish: salt
  • Finnish: suolainen
  • French: salé, salée
  • Greek: αλατισμένος (alatisménos), αλμυρός (almirós )
  • Icelandic: saltur, sölt, salt, saltaður, söltuð, saltað
  • Kurdish: ,
  • Latvian: sāļš , sāļa
  • Norwegian: salt
  • Russian: солёный (sol'ónyj)
  • Slovene: slan , slana , slano
  • Swedish: salt
saline

Verb

  1. To add salt to.
  2. To blast gold into (as a portion of a mine) in order to cause to appear to be a productive seam.
  3. To add filler bytes before encrypting, in order to make brute-force decryption more resource-intensive.
  4. To include colorful language in.
  5. To insert or inject something into an object to give it properties it would not naturally have.

Derived terms

Translations

add salt to
blast gold into
add filler bytes before encryption
include colorful language
  • Danish: krydre
  • Finnish: maustaa, höystää
  • Swedish: krydda

Catalan

Etymology

Latin saltus

Noun

salt m

Danish

Adjective

salt

Noun

  1. salt

Faroese

Pronunciation

[salt]

Noun

salt

Declension

Icelandic

Pronunciation

Adjective

salt
  1. salty, positive neuter of saltur

Noun

salt (salt-s, sölt)
  1. salt
    Geturðu rétt mér saltið?
    Can you pass me the salt?

Derived terms

Latvian

Verb

salt

Norwegian

Adjective

salt, saltere, saltest

Noun

salt

Old Frisian

Noun

salt

Romanian

Etymology

Latin saltus

Noun

salt

Swedish

Pronunciation

Adjective

  1. salty

Noun

  1. salt
    1. sodium chloride (NaCl), used extensively as a condiment and preservative.
    2. One of the compounds formed from the reaction of an acid with a base, where a positive ion replaces a hydrogen of the acid.

Usage notes

When used for the salt NaCl (common salt) specifically, the word is uncountable.

Synonyms

Related terms

Turkish

Adverb

salt

Extensive Definition

Salt is a dietary mineral essential for animal life, composed primarily of sodium chloride. Salt flavor is one of the basic tastes, and salt is the most popular food seasoning. Salt is also a key preservative.
Salt for human consumption is produced in different forms: unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt. It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light grey in color, normally obtained from sea water or rock deposits. Edible rock salts may be slightly greyish in color due to this mineral content.
Chloride and sodium ions, the two major components of salt, are necessary for the survival of all known living creatures, including humans. Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body. Salt cravings may be caused by trace mineral deficiencies as well as by a deficiency of sodium chloride itself. Conversely, overconsumption of salt increases the risk of health problems, including high blood pressure.

History

Human beings have enjoyed canning and artificial refrigeration for only a couple of centuries; for the countless millennia before then, salt provided the best-known preservative of food, especially meat.
The harvest of salt from the surface of the salt lake Yuncheng in Shanxi dates back to at least 6000 B.C., making it one of the oldest verifiable saltworks.
Salt was included among funereal offerings found in ancient Egyptian tombs from the third millennium B.C., as were salted birds and salt fish.
On the river Salzach in central Austria, within a radius of no more than 17 kilometres, lie Salzburg, Hallstatt, and Hallein. Salzach literally means "salt water" and Salzburg "salt city", both taking their names from the Germanic root for salt, salz; Hallstatt literally means "salt town" and Hallein "saltwork", taking their names from hal(l)-, a root for salt found in Celtic, Greek, and Egyptian. The root hal(l)- also gave us Gaul, the Roman exonym for the Celts. Hallstatt and Hallein in Austria, Halle and Schwäbisch Hall in Germany, Halych in Ukraine, and Galicia in Spain: this list of places named for Celtic saltworks is far from complete.
Hallstatt gave its name to the Celtic archaeological culture that began mining for salt in the area in around 800 B.C. Around 400 B.C., the Hallstatt Celts, who had heretofore mined for salt, began flushing the salt out of mines as brine and boiling off the excess water. During the first millennium B.C., Celtic communities grew rich trading salt and salted meat to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome in exchange for wine and other luxuries. However, completely raw sea salt is bitter due to magnesium and calcium compounds, and thus is rarely eaten. The refined salt industry cites scientific studies saying that raw sea and rock salts do not contain enough iodine salts to prevent iodine deficiency diseases.
Unrefined sea salts are also commonly used as ingredients in bathing additives and cosmetic products. One example are bath salts, which uses sea salt as its main ingredient and combined with other ingredients used for its healing and therapeutic effects.

Refined salt

Refined salt, which is most widely used presently, is mainly sodium chloride. Food grade salt accounts for only a small part of salt production in industrialised countries (3% in Europe) although world-wide, food uses account for 17.5% of salt production. The majority is sold for industrial use. Salt has great commercial value, because it is a necessary ingredient in the manufacturing of many things. A few common examples include: the production of pulp and paper, setting dyes in textiles and fabrics, and the making of soaps and detergents.
The manufacture and use of salt is one of the oldest chemical industries. Salt is also obtained by evaporation of sea water, usually in shallow basins warmed by sunlight; salt so obtained was formerly called bay salt, and is now often called sea salt or solar salt. Today, most refined salt is prepared from rock salt: mineral deposits high in salt. These rock salt deposits were formed by the evaporation of ancient salt lakes. These deposits may be mined conventionally or through the injection of water. Injected water dissolves the salt, and the brine solution can be pumped to the surface where the salt is collected.
After the raw salt is obtained, it is refined to purify it and improve its storage and handling characteristics. Purification usually involves recrystallization. In recrystallization, a brine solution is treated with chemicals that precipitate most impurities (largely magnesium and calcium salts). Multiple stages of evaporation are then used to collect pure sodium chloride crystals, which are kiln-dried. Since the 1950s it has been common to add a trace of sodium hexacyanoferrate(II) to the brine; this acts as an anticaking agent by promoting irregular crystals. Other anticaking agents (and potassium iodide, for iodised salt) are generally added after crystallization. These agents are hygroscopic chemicals which absorb humidity, keeping the salt crystals from sticking together. Some anticaking agents used are tricalcium phosphate, calcium or magnesium carbonates, fatty acid salts (acid salts), magnesium oxide, silicon dioxide, calcium silicate, sodium alumino-silicate, and alumino-calcium silicate. Concerns have been raised regarding the possible toxic effects of aluminium in the latter two compounds; however, both the European Union and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permit their use. The refined salt is then ready for packing and distribution.

Table salt

Table salt is refined salt, 99% sodium chloride. It usually contains substances that make it free flowing (anticaking agents) such as sodium silicoaluminate or magnesium carbonate. It is common practice to put a few grains of uncooked rice or half a dry cracker (such as Saltine) in salt shakers to absorb extra moisture when anticaking agents are not enough. Whereas pure NaCl has a density of 2.165 gm/cc, table salt has a density of 1.22 gm/cc.

Salty condiments

In many East Asian cultures, salt is not traditionally used as a condiment. However, condiments such as soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce tend to have a high salt content and fill much the same role as a salt-providing table condiment that table salt serves in western cultures.

Additives

seealso History of iodised salt
Iodized salt (BrE: iodised salt) is table salt mixed with a minute amount of potassium iodide, sodium iodide, or iodate. Iodized salt is used to help reduce the chance of iodine deficiency in humans. Iodine deficiency commonly leads to thyroid gland problems, specifically endemic goiter. Endemic goiter is a disease characterized by a swelling of the thyroid gland, usually resulting in a bulbous protrusion on the neck. While only tiny quantities of iodine are required in a diet to prevent goiter, the United States Food and Drug Administration recommends (21 CFR 101.9 (c)(8)(iv)) 150 micrograms of iodine per day for both men and women, and there are many places around the world where natural levels of iodine in the soil are low and the iodine is not taken up by vegetables.
Today, iodized salt is more common in the United States, Australia and New Zealand than in the United Kingdom. Table salt is also often iodized—a small amount of potassium iodide (in the US) or potassium iodate (in the EU) is added as an important dietary supplement. Table salt is mainly employed in cooking and as a table condiment. Iodized table salt has significantly reduced disorders of iodine deficiency in countries where it is used. Iodine is important to prevent the insufficient production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), which can cause goitre, cretinism in children, and myxedema in adults.
The amount of iodine and the specific iodine compound added to salt varies from country to country. In the United States, iodized salt contains 46-77 ppm, while in the UK the iodine content of iodized salt is recommended to be 10-22 ppm.
In some European countries where drinking water fluoridation is not practiced, fluorinated table salt is available. In France, 35% of sold table salt contains either sodium fluoride or potassium fluoride. Another additive, especially important for pregnant women, is Folic acid (Vitamin B9), which gives the table salt a yellow color.
In Canada, at least one brand (Windsor salt) contains invert sugar. The reason for this is unclear.

Health effects

Sodium is one of the primary electrolytes in the body. All four cationic electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) are available in unrefined salt, as are other vital minerals needed for optimal bodily function. Too much or too little salt in the diet can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, or even an electrolyte disturbance, which can cause severe, even fatal, neurological problems. Drinking too much water, with insufficient salt intake, puts a person at risk of water intoxication (hyponatremia). Salt is even sometimes used as a health aid, such as in treatment of dysautonomia.
People's risk for disease due to insufficient or excessive salt intake varies due to biochemical individuality. Some have asserted that while the risks of consuming too much salt are real, the risks have been exaggerated for most people, or that the studies done on the consumption of salt can be interpreted in many different ways.
Excess salt consumption has been linked to:
  • exercise-induced asthma. On the other hand, another source counters, "…we still don't know whether salt contributes to asthma. If there is a link then it's very weak…".
  • heartburn.
  • osteoporosis: One report shows that a high salt diet does reduce bone density in girls.. Yet "While high salt intakes have been associated with detrimental effects on bone health, there are insufficient data to draw firm conclusions." (, p3)
  • Gastric cancer (Stomach cancer) is associated with high levels of sodium, "but the evidence does not generally relate to foods typically consumed in the UK." (
  • hypertension (high blood pressure): "Since 1994, the evidence of an association between dietary salt intakes and blood pressure has increased. The data have been consistent in various study populations and across the age range in adults." (
  • left ventricular hypertrophy (cardiac enlargement): "Evidence suggests that high salt intake causes left ventricular hypertrophy, a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease, independently of blood pressure effects." (, p12) Excessive salt (sodium) intake, combined with an inadequate intake of water, can cause hypernatremia. It can exacerbate renal disease.
  • Death. Ingestion of large amounts of salt in a short time (about 1 g per kg of body weight) can be fatal. Salt solutions have been used in China as a traditional suicide method, and deaths have also resulted from attempted use of salt solutions as emetics, forced salt intake, and accidental confusion of salt with sugar in child food.
Sea salt (an unrefined form of salt made by evaporating sea water) is often sold for use as a condiment. Because it contains trace amounts of other minerals which are removed in the refining process, it may have health advantages over normal table salt. Certain sea salts are also used in the production of bath salts and cosmetic products.
Rock and sea salt is usually referred and sold as Natrum Muriaticum in homeopathy, and purported by followers to be a deep acting and powerful curative when taken over long periods of time.
Some isolated cultures, such as the Yanomami in South America, have been found to consume little salt, possibly an adaptation originated in the predominantly vegetarian diet of human primate ancestors.

Recommended intake

In the United Kingdom the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended in 2003 that, for a typical adult, the Reference Nutrient Intake is 4 g salt per day (1.6 g or 70 mmol sodium). However, average adult intake is two and a half times the Reference Nutrient Intake for sodium. SACN states, "The target salt intakes set for adults and children do not represent ideal or optimum consumption levels, but achievable population goals." as does the Auckland District Health Board in New Zealand.. Australia defines a recommended dietary intake (RDI) of 0.92 g–2.3 g sodium per day (= 2.3 g–5.8 g salt).
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration itself does not make a recommendation, but refers readers to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. These suggest that US citizens should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium (= 2.3 g sodium = 5.8 g salt) per day.

Labeling

UK: The Food Standards Agency defines the level of salt in foods as follows: "High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium). Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium). If the amount of salt per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of salt." In the UK, foods produced by some supermarkets and manufacturers have ‘traffic light’ colors on the front of the pack: Red (High), Amber (Medium), or Green (Low).
USA: The FDA Food Labeling Guide stipulates whether a food can be labelled as "free", "low", or "reduced/less" in respect of sodium. When other health claims are made about a food (e.g. low in fat, calories, etc.), a disclosure statement is required if the food exceeds 480mg of sodium per 'serving.'

Campaigns

In 2004, Britain's Food Standards Agency started a public health campaign called "Salt - Watch it", which recommends no more than 6g of salt per day; it features a character called Sid the Slug and was criticised by the Salt Manufacturers Association (SMA). The Advertising Standards Authority did not uphold the SMA complaint in its adjudication.. In March 2007, the FSA launched the third phase of their campaign with the slogan "Salt. Is your food full of it?" fronted by comedienne Jenny Eclair.
The Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, Australia, maintains a website dedicated to educating people about the potential problems of a salt-laden diet.
Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) established in 1996, actively campaigns to raise awareness of the harmful health effects of salt. The 2008 focus includes raising awareness of high levels of salt hidden in sweet foods and marketed towards children.

Salt substitutes

Salt intake can be reduced by simply reducing the quantity of salty foods in a diet, without recourse to salt substitutes. Salt substitutes have a taste similar to table salt and contain mostly potassium chloride, which will increase potassium intake. Excess potassium intake can cause hyperkalemia. Various diseases and medications may decrease the body's excretion of potassium, thereby increasing the risk of hyperkalemia. If you have kidney failure, heart failure or diabetes, seek medical advice before using a salt substitute. A manufacturer, LoSalt, has issued an advisory statement that people taking the following prescription drugs should not use a salt substitute: Amiloride, Triamterene, Dytac, Spironolactone (Brand name Aldactone), Eplerenone and Inspra.

Production trends

Salt is produced by evaporation of seawater or brine from other sources, such as brine wells and salt lakes, and by mining rock salt, called halite. In 2002, total world production was estimated at 210 million tonnes, the top five producers being the United States (40.3 million tonnes), China (32.9), Germany (17.7), India (14.5), and Canada (12.3). Note that these figures are not just for table salt but for sodium chloride in general.

See also

Notes

References

  • Salt: A World History .
  • The Mummies of Ürümchi .

Further reading

  • Kurlansky, Mark, and S. D. Schindler. The Story of Salt. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2006. ISBN 0399239987 -- a children's book about salt.
  • Laszlo, Pierre. Salt: Grain of Life. Arts and traditions of the table. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
  • Department of Health, Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the UK: Report of the Panel on DRVs of the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food Policy , The Stationery Office.

External links

Salt and health

Many other government bodies are listed in the References section above.
salt in Arabic: ملح الطعام
salt in Min Nan: Iâm
salt in Catalan: Sal comuna
salt in Danish: Salt
salt in German: Speisesalz
salt in Modern Greek (1453-): Αλάτι
salt in Spanish: Sal (condimento)
salt in Esperanto: Salo
salt in French: Sel alimentaire
salt in Hakka Chinese: Yàm
salt in Korean: 소금
salt in Ido: Manjebla salo
salt in Icelandic: Salt
salt in Italian: Sale da cucina
salt in Hebrew: מלח בישול
salt in Latin: Sal
salt in Lithuanian: Druska
salt in Hungarian: Konyhasó
salt in Malayalam: കറിയുപ്പ്
salt in Dutch: Keukenzout
salt in Japanese: 塩
salt in Norwegian: Salt
salt in Norwegian Nynorsk: Salt
salt in Polish: Sól kuchenna
salt in Portuguese: Sal de cozinha
salt in Romanian: Sare de bucătărie
salt in Russian: Соль
salt in Simple English: Salt
salt in Slovenian: Kuhinjska sol
salt in Finnish: Ruokasuola
salt in Swedish: Salt
salt in Thai: เกลือ
salt in Vietnamese: Muối ăn
salt in Turkish: Yemek tuzu
salt in Ukrainian: Сіль (хімія)
salt in Samogitian: Droska
salt in Chinese: 食盐

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

AB, Ancient Mariner, Argonaut, Attic, Atticism, Dylan, Flying Dutchman, Neptune, OD, Poseidon, Tabasco, Varuna, Worcestershire sauce, able seaman, able-bodied seaman, accumulate, adulterate, aftertaste, agile wit, alimentation, alimony, allspice, amass, anchovies, angelica, anhydrate, applesauce, basil, bell pepper, bite, biting, bitter, black humor, black pepper, blast-freeze, bluejacket, borage, brackish, brackishness, bread, brilliant, brine, brininess, briny, buccaneer, burlesque, burnet, caper, capsicum, caraway seeds, cardamom, caricature, catsup, cautiously, celery salt, chervil, chili, chili sauce, chili vinegar, chives, chutney, cinnamon, clever, cloves, comedy, condiments, cook, coriander, corn, cranberry sauce, cubeb, cumin, cure, cured, curry, dahl sauce, deep-sea man, dehydrate, desiccate, dill, dillseed, doctor, doctor accounts, doubtfully, droll, dry, dry wit, dry-cure, dry-salt, duck sauce, embalm, embalming fluid, esprit, evaporate, facetious, fagara, fair-weather sailor, fake, farce, fennel, file, fisherman, five spice powder, flavor, formaldehyde, freeze, freeze-dry, fume, funny, garble accounts, garlic, garlic butter, garlic powder, garlic salt, ginger, green pepper, gust, hearty, hedge garlic, hoard, horseradish, humor, humorous, humorsome, hyssop, irony, irradiate, jack, jack afloat, jack-tar, jacky, jerk, jesting, jocose, jocular, joking, joky, joshing, juggle, keen, keen-witted, keep, kipper, lampoon, leek, limey, livelihood, liveliness, load, lobsterman, mace, maintenance, manipulate, marinade, marinate, mariner, marjoram, matelot, mayonnaise, mint, mordant, mummify, mustard, navigator, nimble wit, nimble-witted, nutmeg, old campaigner, old hand, old pro, old salt, old sea dog, old-timer, onion, onion salt, oregano, pack, palate, paprika, parody, parsley, pep, pepper, peppercorn, peppermint, piccalilli, pickle, pickled, pile up, pimento, pimpernel, piquancy, pirate, plant, pleasantry, poignancy, pointed, potherb, preservative, preservative medium, preservatize, preserve, pretty wit, privateer, punch, pungency, pungent, quick wit, quick-freeze, quick-witted, radish, rapier-like, ready wit, red pepper, refrigerate, relish, reservedly, retouch, rig, saffron, sage, sailor, salad dressing, saline, salinity, salt away, salted, saltiness, saltish, salty, sapidity, sapor, sarcasm, satire, sauce, sauce-alone, save up, savor, savor of wit, savoriness, savory, sceptically, scintillating, sea dog, sea rover, seafarer, seafaring man, seaman, season, seasoned salt, seasoned veteran, seasoning, sesame oil, sesame seeds, shallot, sharp, shellback, shipman, slapstick, slapstick humor, smack, smart, smoke, smoke-cure, sock away, sodium chloride, sophisticate, sour, souse, soused, soy, soy sauce, sparkling, spice, spiciness, sprightly, squib, squirrel away, stack, star anise, stockpile, stomach, store up, stuff, subsistence, subtle wit, support, surcharge, suspiciously, sustenance, sweet, tamper with, tang, tar, tarpaulin, tarragon, tartar sauce, taste, thyme, tomato paste, tongue, tooth, travesty, turmeric, vanilla, vet, veteran, vigor, viking, vinegar, visual humor, vitality, war-horse, warily, water dog, whaler, whimsical, white pepper, windjammer, windsailor, wit, with qualifications, with reservations, witty, zest, zing, zip
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