Salient

Salient

I always hear

this

‘is a salient point’

And that

‘is a salient point’

if I had to guess

I would guess that salient means important

But I wasn’t completely sure

So I wrote this poem

It turns out that I am basically right

Essentially salient does mean important

Which makes me wonder why people use it

Instead of important

Is it just to sound smart?

Maybe

In defense of salient and those folks not being so concerned about

Looking smart (I do this all the time)

Salient also seems to be a little more concise than important

Especially if you pronounce it sal-YENT and blur the second and third

Syllables

Compare that to important

Which has three hard syllables

Let’s turn now

From syllables to history

Heraldry history in particular

Salient derives from heraldic terms

Meaning those terms used to describe coats of arms

and other ways military men coated their armor

in medieval days  

Which is kind of interesting because salient can also be used as a military term to describe

Sticking out or in front on a battlefield during military conflict

Like an army acting as a peninsula or promontory during a battle  

But enough geography

Let’s get back to heraldry

Which in laymans terms are those two-dimensional animals like lions and dragons and bucks and bears

On shields and stuff

When they have their front legs in the air

on a shield

and they are leaping with their front legs

they are, in Latin, salire,

the animals are leaping or springing

Eventually the word salire becomes salient

But that meaning of springing and leaping sort of stays in the definition

In modern English

With that in mind

I think of salient as not just one of those words that you package with

Salient point

Salient feature

Salient characteristic

I think of it as the important fact

that leaps above the rest of the facts

The way a stag- a male deer- would on a shield  

Think house Baratheon

In Game of Thrones.

That is a salient stag

Which means springing or leaping

Which means when you have a point

That you want to make

And you think that point leaps above most other points

Then it is a salient point

And if it is a point that leaps above all other points

Then it is the MOST salient point

Applying this to an example on my website

boyledown.com

It is a salient point that the phrase “boil down” means

To condense

To summarize

However

 the MOST salient point, in my opinion

 is that the phrase “boil down”

Is a play on words with my last name

oboyle

together you get boyledown.com

kind of clever, no?

how is that for marketing?

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