use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

sal·ad (săləd)
Share:
n.
1.
a. A dish of raw leafy green vegetables, often tossed with pieces of other raw or cooked vegetables, fruit, cheese, or other ingredients and served with a dressing.
b. The course of a meal consisting of this dish.
2. A cold dish of chopped vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, or other food, usually prepared with a dressing, such as mayonnaise.
3. A green vegetable or herb used in salad, especially lettuce.
4. A varied mixture: "The Declaration of Independence was ... a salad of illusions" (George Santayana).

[Middle English salade, from Old French, possibly from Old Provençal salada, from Vulgar Latin *salāta, from feminine past participle of *salāre, to salt, from Latin sāl, salt; see sal- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

Word History: Salt was and is such an important ingredient in salad dressings that the very word salad is based on the Latin word for "salt." Vulgar Latin had a verb *salāre, "to salt," from Latin sāl, "salt," and the past participle form of this verb, *salāta, "having been salted," came to mean "salad." The Vulgar Latin word passed into languages descending from it, such as Portuguese (salada) and Old Provençal (salada). Old French may have borrowed its word salade from Old Provençal. Medieval Latin also carried on the Vulgar Latin word in the form salāta. As in the case of so many culinary delights, the English borrowed the word and probably the dish from the French. The Middle English word salade, from Old French salade and Medieval Latin salāta, is first recorded in a cookbook composed before 1399. · Salt is of course an important ingredient of other foods and condiments besides salad dressings, as is evidenced by some other culinary word histories. The words sauce and salsa, borrowed into English from French and Spanish, respectively, both come ultimately from the Latin word salsus, meaning "salted." Another derivative of this word was the Late Latin adjective salsīcius, "prepared by salting," which eventually gave us the word sausage.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.