What Does “Salt Of The Earth” Mean? When Can We Use It?

Imagine you are reading a text and the expression salt of the earth appears, and you do not know what it means. What would you think of it? If you are unsure about the meaning of this phrase or want to know more about it, keep reading.

The phrase refers to someone that everyone thinks is good or with an honest personality. It can also refer to a group of admirable people that are noble, kind, and reliable. We can use the expression when we want to give a compliment to someone.

Origin Of The Phrase

The expression comes from a Bible quote from Matthew 5:13-16. The quote says: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt does not have a taste anymore, how can it recover its importance? It has no value now, and the only thing you can do with it is throw it away. You are the brightness of our world. Also, let your light glow before others so that they realize that good work pays off.”

The first time someone used this phrase in English was in The Summoner’s Tale. But, that was around 1386, meaning that Chaucer took it from the Bible.

This expression comes from the value that salt carries. As we know, salt intensifies the flavor of our food.

How People Use The Phrase


People use idioms to communicate better. They add personality to your conversations, and it is an easier way of saying things. By using them, people can understand what you are trying to say. At the same time, you will keep the talk fun and entertaining.

People use the phrase salt of the earth when they need to say something positive about someone. If you describe someone with this expression, you respect and admire them.

Examples Of The Phrase In A Sentence

  1. You can rely on her words; Sophia is the salt of the earth. And she is super adorable!
  2. That day I fell so hard for him. He treated me like a goddess. I can describe him as the salt of the earth.
  3. Some people consider the phrase salt of the earth old-fashioned, but I like it a lot. It is an easier way of saying someone is good.
  4. If you think she is arrogant, you are wrong. Mariah is the salt of the earth.
  5. My big sister is the salt of the earth; my parents always describe her as admirable. I am very jealous of her.
  6. My boyfriend means the world to me; he is the salt of the earth. I do not know what I would do if he were with somebody else. 
  7. The workers on that company are the salt of the earth. I trust them with my eyes closed.
  8. Do you feel like the salt of the earth? Because I do not think you are sincere at all.
  9. I got an incredible feeling when Eva, Isabella, and Elle came to my house. They are the salt of the earth
  10. He brought food and movies, and then we talked about how he is feeling at the moment. I got to the conclusion that he is the salt of the earth.

What Type Of Phrase Is It?


Salt of the earth is a metaphoric idiom that originated from Latin, and now we use it in English. Below you can see some synonyms and antonyms, including examples.

Synonyms Of Salt Of The Earth

  1. Admirable
  2. Believable
  3. Decent
  4. Deserving
  5. Dutiful
  6. Exemplary
  7. Gallant
  8. Honest
  9. Honorable
  10. Immaculate
  11. Nice
  12. Noble-minded
  13. Outstanding
  14. Praise-worthy
  15. Respectable
  16. Righteous
  17. Sincere
  18. Truthful
  19. Upstanding
  20. Virtuous

Examples In Sentences

  1. My son is admirable, and he graduated from high school yesterday. He gave a Valedictorian speech and made everyone cry.
  2. I trust the news, but not all the information they provide. I try to find the most accurate and believable ones.
  3. The teacher is decent when she is talking with my parents. But when she talks to us, I don’t feel respected.
  4. That woman is exemplary. She is a full-time activist since 2000. Still, she has more experience in jobs related to women empowerment.
  5. He is honest, but sometimes he exceeds the limits and hurts my feelings. 
  6. Brian was honorable at what he did. But now that he has retired, he is still known as a role model.
  7. The outfit she wore was immaculate. That dress costs around US$ 500.
  8. Maggie was noble-minded. She brought almost twenty presents last year on Christmas. One for every family member.
  9. Sincere words mean a lot to me; if you are dishonest, I cannot be your friend.
  10. All the righteous people will become better every day. And those ones that want to become better will be righteous too. 

Antonyms Of Salt Of The Earth

  1. Bad
  2. Corrupt
  3. Deceptive
  4. Dishonest
  5. Dishonorable
  6. Disreputable
  7. Disrespected
  8. False
  9. Fraudulent
  10. Hateful
  11. Inappropriate
  12. Unfitting
  13. Unimportant
  14. Unjust
  15. Unprincipled
  16. Unreliable
  17. Unrespected
  18. Unworthy
  19. Valueless
  20. Worthless

Examples In Sentences

  1. If you choose that phone over the other one, the downgrade will be too bad
  2. He went to court, but he showed a dishonest attitude. Now, he will be in jail for more years. 
  3. Nobody trusts him because of his bad character. You could say he is the best example of a disreputable person. 
  4. Stop spreading that false information. Your posts will get deleted or marked as misinformation. 
  5. That giveaway was fraudulent. The account manager told me I won, but everything was a lie.
  6. That was the most hateful act I have seen in my life. At some point, I even got scared. 
  7. The restaurant has an inappropriate waiter. I am uncomfortable when I have to go there.
  8. The email he received is unimportant. It even went to the junk.
  9. He gave me a souvenir when we were a couple. But now I do not need it; it is valueless
  10. Do not call yourself worthless. You are full of good things, and you are one of the best people I know.

Famous Quotes With The Idiom Salt Of The Earth


“Some of the environmental groups of the western countries are the salt of the earth. Some of them are prideful. They have no idea of what hunger means. They do their work from luxurious buildings located in Washington or Brussels. If they were one month among the pain of the growing places as I have, they could not take it. They would beg for fertilizer and tractors. And they would get mad that prideful people would refuse to give them those things.” — Norman Borlaug.

“We are the salt of the earth; please remember, not the sugar. Our service is to purify and not to replace the flavor.” — Vance Havner.

“People do not like salt without food. They like things that contain salt. People are the salt of the earth. We are not here only for our benefit.” — John Piper.

“Let us have a shot for people that work hard. I will take a shot for the salt of the earth.” — Mick Jagger.

“All the families around the planet are the salt of the earth and what brings hope to our world. It is the most important thing on society.” — Pope Francis.

“Nobody feels good if someone rubs salt on their scars. It does not matter if it is the salt of the earth.”  — Rebecca West.

“Those women are the salt of the earth. They do not start comparing groups, saying that lyrics are bad, or looking for validation. They love listening to my music. And they go crazy when they dance to it. I adore them. I adore them so much.” — David Bowie.

“Continue the path of faith in this life. Believe in the tasks that life offers you. Always go out with watchfulness and satisfaction approaching every creation. Move over to the present of rebirth. Let your heart get full by the Holy Spirit and transcend to new growth, salt of the earth, what brings a glow to the world.” — Pope Benedict XVI.

“These people here are the salt of the earth; if they were not alive, humanity would get in a constant loop. They bring incredible things that now exist thanks to them. At the same time, they keep alive those that already exist.” — John Stuart Mill.


In summary, we need to know the importance of this idiom. As we have looked through this article, there is a lot more to learn, not only the meaning of the expression. Every time we have the opportunity of getting new information, we have to take it. And now that you’ve received all this knowledge, you can apply it to many aspects of your life. From now, you can use the phrase in a conversation or sentence with confidence.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.