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Sally Port?

Posted by Bruce Kahl on March 07, 2002

In Reply to: I have always wondered posted by nita on March 07, 2002

: as to the origin of "sally forth"? anyone?

If you meant "sally port":

Lifted verbatim from the Word Detective:

"Sally ports" were a feature of castles and fortresses, a closely-guarded opening or door in the wall of a fortified building designed for the quick passage of troops. One of the primary uses of these doors was to mount quick attacks on whatever enemy army might be besieging the castle at the moment, and here's where we meet "sally." A "sally," from the Latin "salire" meaning "to jump," was originally a sudden rush out of a besieged position, a lightning attack designed to surprise the enemy. "Sally" in this original sense first appeared around 1560, and "sally port" is first found around 1649. "Sally" has since acquired the broader sense of "an excursion or escapade." And since castles and fortresses are in short supply these days, "sally port" has gradually come to mean any guarded doorway or opening.