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:
- Sea water is salty. = it contains salt; it tastes of salt
- 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).