We salute to greet people, and when we greet people, we often wish them good health. A similar logic influenced the etymology of salute, which came from the Latin welcoming salutare, itself from the root salus, meaning "good health", which is what ancient Romans would wish each other. Salus is from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction solh, which meant "whole", whole being a still-used metaphor for "healthy". Now, the best part about salute is all of its linguistic relatives. The opening line I use in all my YouTube videos, for instance, is salutations, which also derives from salutare. The Spanish word for "health", salud, also comes from salutare, and French salut comes from salus. And, if we're willing to philologize as far back as the PIE root, salvation and safety are also connected. Pretty cool, right?
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd