Where's the salt?

I sometimes hear members of my family say this at dinner:

  • “The food is very saltish.”

I used to think that “saltish” sounds weird, but after learning (and teaching) English, I discovered that both could be used, but in different contexts.

  • salty (adj.) = containing salt, or tastes of salt
  • saltish (adj.) = somewhat salty

Let’s compare these two sentences:

  1. Sea water is salty. = it contains salt; it tastes of salt
  2. The fish that you cooked was saltish. = quite salty

So, use “salty” when you want to tell people that the food or beverage you taste contains salt. On the other hand, use “saltish” if the food you taste contains more salt than necessary.

Take note that some dictionaries do not recognise the word “saltish” (e.g.: Cambridge Online Dictionaries).


Posted on November 30, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Kev, this is first time I heard the word “saltish”. I never knew of its existence till now…….I usually use the word “salty” to describe my food that taste more salt than necessary…..hahaha!

    Thanks for enlighten me. I learn new word today. 🙂

    • I often hear my parents use the word “saltish”, and I’ve always doubted its existence until I did my own investigation. Yes, it does exist. Another thing to note is “salty” could also mean “contains salt” to some people including native English speakers. English is indeed a complicated language, huh.

      Glad you’ve learnt something. 🙂

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