A Metaphor Worth Its Weight in Salt

A woman being interviewed on NPR today said that any HR officer “worth his weight in salt” would take claims of sexual harassment seriously.

People often confuse the expression “worth his/her salt” with the superficially similar “worth his/her weight in gold.”

The first derives from the tradition of Roman soldiers sometimes being paid in salt. A fairly minimal standard of praise.

The second is much more extravagant way of praising someone as truly exceptional.

You’d taste pretty bad if you were seasoned with your weight in salt.


Unknown said...

I was under the impression that, "worth one's salt," meant that said person had earned his or her salary.

Paul Brians said...

Right you are. I'll correct the entry. Thanks.