“Salary” & “Not Worth their Salt” – how did these words originate?

The meaning of this word needs not be defined, it is universally known. If any word can claim to be better known than this – it can only be the word ‘money’. Different people earn their salaries in different manners, some have it more easy than others. Some can hardly scrap together a few dollars  while others reap in thousands if not million on the same day.

There are those who have to work in unshielded and unhygienic conditions, enduring, filth, hot sun and miserable cold. While others can do their work sitting in the most conducive environment – air-conditioned rooms, away from dust and dirt and free from sundry smells and sounds. It is most heartening that many of those who have to endure all the hardship to earn their meager salaries  in the harsh conditions are not bitter, that many of them have a sense of contentment.

We are not talking about the meaning of the word, we bring to you the origin of the word here.


This comes from Roman times when salt was essential and soldiers were either paid part of their wages in salt or were given salt money or salarium.

This also gives us another saying, because when someone has not earn their keep, we say  they are not worth their salt.

Two for the price of one, not bad. We have Tony Wootton and Gwen Zanzottera to thank. I got all the sayings and their origins from their book – “By Hook Or By Crook”.

Come visit again. Thank you.

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