old salt

old salt (plural old salts)

  1. (idiomatic) A seasoned sailor, especially one who is hardy and forthright in manner.
    • 1863, James Fenimore Cooper, Miles Wallingford, ch. 24:
      "[A]n old salt don't like to keep under hatches, while powder is burning on deck."
    • 1910, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Kilmeny of the Orchard, ch. 2:
      "[Y]ou'll always find an old salt at the harbour ready and willing to take you out cod-fishing or lobstering."
    • 1931 23 Nov., "[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,742641,00.html Heroes: Almost Ahab]," Time:
      Peerless hero of U. S. mariners is Captain Ahab, the vindictive old salt who sailed the southern oceans screaming for more canvas, cursing tired crews, laughing wildly into the gale.
    • 2004, Jane Marie Malcolm, The Goodbye Lie, ISBN 9780974918228, p. 61 ↗:
      The old salt probably had more knowledge than anyone around when it came to the ports on the Atlantic coast, but he sensed the captain needed to talk so he patiently indulged him.

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