How Did We Get the Word Salary?
Salary comes from the Latin word “salarium,” meaning “salt money.” In ancient times a part of the wages paid to Roman soldiers was an allowance to buy salt with. This portion of their pay was known as salarium.
Eventually salarium came to mean wages in general, and so gave us our word salary. Salt was once so scarce and precious that workers were often paid either all or part of their wages in salt.
Salt was at the core of the economy for a time. It practically became a currency, as trade occurred using the relative value in salt. (same idea as the “gold standard”)
This is why we sometimes say of an employee, “He isn’t worth his salt.” We no longer pay salaries in salt, but we still recognize its great importance.