A synonym for surliness. This comes from the idea of a salty sailor, someone who is generally gruff and anti-social. Being a sailor, one's clothing becomes covered in salt from dried-up seawater. Hence, salty.

A salty is a freighter that can ply both the Great Lakes system and the Atlantic ocean. Previous to 1959, the Great Lakes were a closed system as far as freighters were concerned. All that changed in the late ‘50s when the St. Lawrence seaway was expanded and officially opened in 1959. The need for locks along the Great Lakes seaway ultimately limits a salty’s size. No ocean going vessel can be wider than 78 feet (with a 26’ draft). This figure was arrived at because of a set of locks along the seaway system’s Welland canal portion were constructed back at the beginning of the 20th century and had this width.

Salt"y (?), a.

Somewhat salt; saltish.


© Webster 1913.

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