Word of the Week: Salient

This Wednesday’s “Word of the Week” is salient.  According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, salient is an adjective that means “prominent,” and it is synonymous with “conspicuous,” “striking,” and “noticeable.”  In other words, something that is salient stands out or attracts attention.

Here’s an illustration.  One of my sisters has two dogs, and she regularly takes them to a local dog park.  Her dogs have many features common to other breeds, such as sleek coats, slobbery tongues, and long tails.  However, because her dogs are English mastiffs, their most salient feature (i.e., what people notice immediately) is their size (170 lbs. and 180 lbs.).  When people see her dogs for the first time, they consistently comment on how “huge” they are.

Let’s look at some additional examples.  Below are instances of sentences from recent articles that use forms of the word salient.  (The noun forms of salient are saliency and salience.)

“Some of the men described above noted that they felt especially out in certain contexts. In other words, while they felt more ‘out’ in most aspects of their lives, their sexuality was made especially salient in certain settings. Six men observed that becoming a parent had outed them at work. They had maintained a relatively ‘low profile’ with respect to their sexuality prior to becoming a parent, but, upon announcing their adoption intentions or the fact that they had adopted, they felt as though their homosexuality was made ‘much more visible.’” http://bit.ly/OUCGPQ

“Fake book reviews are commonplace on the Internet, according to famous authors. Ian Rankin, and other novelists, have condemned the practice of authors using fake identities to post reviews of their own work. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Susan Hill and other famous authors have condemned the practice of posting fake reviews on the Internet. The practice, known as ‘sock puppeting,’ has been given added salience by the recent disclosure that best-selling crime author, R J Ellory, whose novels have sold more than a million copies, has been using fake identities to write positive reviews of his own books, his ‘magnificent genius,’ and critical attacks on his rivals.” http://bit.ly/RCAjSF

“This time my lesson was a really obvious one, but it’s one that so few businesses actual[ly] pay attention to and capitalize on. This marketing lesson is unlike most of my others. Most of the salient marketing points I try to make are about a message you need to communicate to your audience. Usually, in marketing, you have to actually create a message and then find various ways, through advertising, direct mail, emails, seminars, billboards, etc., to communicate that message. But there’s one very powerful marketing lesson that you can’t directly control: word of mouth.” http://bit.ly/UpiiXH

“As part of its revival brand strategy, Bob Martin is sponsoring the Paul O’Grady, ITV1 show, ‘For the love of Dogs’. The peak time show starts on 3 September and runs for seven weeks highlighting the ups and downs of Battersea Cat and Dog Home. Established in 1892, Bob Martin remains an independent company aiming to provide effective products and advice to pet owners. Robin Dorman, head of broadcast at TCS Media, who brokered the deal, commented: ‘The sponsorship package is an important brick in our media strategy to raise the saliency of this iconic brand in the minds of pet owners.’” http://bit.ly/PYJtrW

“Jobs have been and will continue to be the most important issue to voters come November. A new Gallup/USA TODAY poll finds that 92 percent of likely voters rate ‘creating good jobs’ as either a ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ priority for the next president. That was a full five points ahead of the second most popular issue (reducing corruption in government). The issue has bipartisan salience. Unlike healthcare reform or tax cuts, creating good jobs is a high priority for Democrats and Republicans alike, with 48 percent of each ranking it as extremely important.” http://bit.ly/SgAoOi

“When Gus + Scout, the lo-fi, quasi-country buzz band and celebrity scion super-duo, began their set at Mercury Lounge Monday evening, it was tough not to notice the boldfaced offspring in the front row. Equally salient was the surplus of concertgoers in what appears to have become the official uniform of Los Angeles transplants: ripped, floral dresses; vintage T-shirts and black bras; backward caps and flannel shirts. They looked young. They looked happy. Surprisingly, they knew all the words.” http://on.wsj.com/RCE1LW

For more information on the word salient, please visit the following Web sites:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/salient
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salient

Works Cited:

“Salient.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 11th Ed., 2004. Print.

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