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Anybody worth his salt...

Posted by Bruce Kahl on June 11, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Take it with a pinch of salt posted by James Briggs on June 10, 2003

: : : I've always thought this meant don't take what someones saying to be 100% fact. eg I take everything john says with a pinch of salt.

: : : I thought it came from flavorings, things are easier to swallow when flavored, this doesnt seem to relate to the meaning.

: : : Can any one clear this up for me, please

: : I think we had an extensive discussion about this phrase but I couldn't find it in the archives. Here's what I found in one reference:

: : TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT -- ?Be skeptical; examine it (a statement or an idea) carefully before you accept it. The thought seems to be that a bit of salt makes food easier to swallow. It is old enough to have a L*tin version: ?cum grano salis.? One of John Trapp?s commentaries on the Bible in 1647 carried the line: ?This is to be taken with a grain of salt.?? From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985). A variation is "pinch of salt."

: I agree.
: If you hear something of doubtful truth, something that is unpalatable then, if you take it 'with a pinch of salt', it becomes more acceptable, just like some foods.

Salt was at one time a very valuable commodity. Roman soldiers were paid in "salis" which is how we get the english word "salary".
There is an expression using salt as in "Anybody worth his salt should have caught that mistake".