Definition of salute in US English:



  • 1A gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment, especially one made to or by a person when arriving or departing.

    ‘he raises his arms in a triumphant salute’
    • ‘In a final mark of respect, a rescue helicopter circled low over the bay, dropped a wreath into the sea, and dipped its nose in salute to those on the headland.’
    • ‘‘To absent friends,’ said Karen, in salute to their recently departed comrades.’
    • ‘Just before she vanished from my sight, she turned, and waved her great crystal sword at me in salute.’
    • ‘I lifted my glass in salute to all my American friends, enjoying the big Thanksgiving meal, and thought with only a tinge of envy of the delights of roast turkey with all the trimmings.’
    • ‘When the jet reached Manchester Airport, the aircraft's wings were tipped in salute to its new home before circling and touching down.’
    gesture of respect, greeting, salutation, address, hail, welcome, tribute, wave
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    1. 1.1 A prescribed or specified movement, typically a raising of a hand to the head, made by a member of a military or similar force as a formal sign of respect or recognition.
      • ‘Commanding Officer of HMAS Rankin, LCDR Steve Hussey, salutes as the Last Post is sounded during the Freedom of Entry to Cobar.’
      • ‘The Commander walked over and returned the salute.’
      • ‘Upon his arrival in Finland, Svinhufvud met him at the dock with a military salute, dressed in the uniform of a sergeant-major.’
      • ‘Outside the council's administration centre Mayor Darling and the Chief of Navy waited to receive the salute of the officers and sailors.’
      • ‘He crossed the finishing line beaming broadly and with arms raised aloft in a victory salute.’
      • ‘He raised his hands above his head in a victory salute.’
      • ‘The salute at the parade was taken by the Naval Base Commander, Commodore Steve Graham.’
      • ‘He saluted the lieutenant who returned the salute and walked briskly off.’
      • ‘John Lucaks isn't happy with the recent tradition of American presidents returning salutes from uniformed military personnel.’
      • ‘I was also rendered a precise salute upon passing their inspection-hardly a courtesy I expected while dressed in civilian clothes.’
      • ‘It will be followed by a fly-past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota, a display by pipers and a military salute.’
      • ‘After the handover, Admiral Spencer received a general salute in the Victory Arena, at which he was presented with his flag, and the band and Guard of Honour held a march-past.’
      • ‘John saluted him and Richard quickly returned the salute before leaving the hangar and returning to the bridge.’
      • ‘A pair of Japanese soldiers stand at attention on either side of the canvas, their arms raised in a military salute.’
      • ‘The cadets snap to attention and render a salute, as a distant bugler plays ‘Taps.’’
      • ‘At its most formal and elaborate, a salute can be accompanied by appropriate military music and can include the discharge of a prescribed number of guns as a formal or ceremonial sign of respect.’
      • ‘The General returned the salute of his driver in his open compartment and crouched as he hopped up into the little door to the rear compartment.’
      • ‘Finally making up his mind, he pauses, gives his compatriot a military salute and finally, leaving him to himself, departs.’
      • ‘Carter said, coming stiffly to attention and saluting Saunders who returned the salute and then shook Carters hand.’
      • ‘Once standing inside, he paused to look up at his uncle and the members of the Royal Council, who all stood solemnly facing their prince with formal salutes, which he proudly returned.’
    2. 1.2often with modifier The discharge of a gun or guns as a formal or ceremonial sign of respect or celebration.
      ‘a twenty-one-gun salute’
      • ‘A large media presence and a gun salute only enhanced the occasion.’
      • ‘As the procession moved up river, Tower Bridge raised its bascules in tribute while gun salutes came from the Tower of London and HMS Belfast.’
      • ‘Excitement still pervaded the air, which hummed with voices and the crackle and pop of logs in the fire like a twenty-one gun salute.’
      • ‘She received a 21-gun salute during the welcoming ceremony at Merdeka Palace.’
      • ‘Hu, who released a short statement outlining the goals of his visit, was given a 21-gun salute as part of an official welcoming ceremony, she said.’
    3. 1.3Fencing The formal performance of certain guards or other movements by fencers before engaging.
      • ‘In order to execute the salute, raise your right arm level with your shoulder, the cutting edge of the blade always to the right.’
      • ‘The salute is a traditional and mandatory expression of courtesy and respect that is always rendered at the beginning and end of a fencing lesson, assault or bout.’


[with object]
  • 1Make a formal salute to.

    ‘don't you usually salute a superior officer?’
    no object ‘he clicked his heels and saluted’
    • ‘I'm reminded of the famous essay by the semiotician Roland Barthes, who analysed an image of a black soldier saluting the French flag.’
    • ‘I remember when the bonded labourers decided to salute the national flag for the first time, on Independence Day in 1983.’
    • ‘Both Becca and Kade saluted as soon as they caught sight of the Admiral, snapping to attention almost in unison.’
    • ‘Keller looked back at the ceremonial bandstand to see Admiral Warren saluting the flyby.’
    • ‘True patriotism is more than saluting the flag and obeying the current administration.’
    1. 1.1 Greet.
      ‘he saluted her with a smile’
      • ‘As we walked, I saw many men greeting or saluting us by kissing her forefinger and bringing it to their forehead.’
      • ‘She waved cheerfully and Kyle saluted her right back.’
      • ‘Masurao left the room, saluting Taro with a jaunty wave.’
      • ‘Players saluted supporters and the fans hailed their heroes who, at the third attempt in seven roller-coaster seasons, had managed to avoid instant relegation.’
      • ‘The monarch, who will bear the title Mary I of Ireland, graciously saluted subjects who gathered to hail their new queen outside Dublin Castle.’
      greet, address, hail, welcome, acknowledge, pay one's respects to, toast, make obeisance to, wave to, accost
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    2. 1.2 Show or express admiration and respect for.
      ‘we salute a truly great photographer’
      • ‘Other workers have saluted and respected their determination and defiance, and blame Labour for the intransigence of the employers.’
      • ‘Those people who can freely put their inner most thoughts, feelings and emotions on the web I salute and send you my admiration.’
      • ‘Let's all salute an achievement of truly monumental proportions.’
      • ‘When two boxers trade punches for 12 rounds, we salute the champion and respect the loser.’
      • ‘To my colleagues who aspired for this position, I salute you and respect you for the good fight we had.’
      pay tribute to, pay homage to, honour, recognize, celebrate, acknowledge, take one's hat off to
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    3. 1.3archaic with object and complement Hail (someone) as having a particular high office.
      ‘they saluted him king when he entered into Jerusalem’
      • ‘And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, And began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews!’
      • ‘I don t know many men of fifty six who are as fit as you are and the whole community salutes you, the undisputed King of Booleigh!’
      • ‘The Iberians had saluted him as a king, but there is no evidence that he ever envisaged playing other than a traditional role in Roman politics.’


  • take the salute

    • (of a senior officer in the armed forces or other person of importance) acknowledge formally a salute given by a body of troops marching past.

      • ‘Wreaths were cast over the sides of the vessels, and the British Naval Attache to France, Capt Allan Adair, took the salute in Shetland as the Last Post and Reveille were played.’
      • ‘The Princess Royal, as Rear Admiral Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy, took the salute at Horse Guards of the columns of ex-Servicemen and women marched past.’
      • ‘The college's commanding officer, Lt Col Guy Deacon, inspected the soldiers and took the salute as they marched past.’
      • ‘Following the ceremony, war veterans and cadets accompanied by Spen Valley Brass Band paraded to City Hall where the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe, took the salute at a march past in Centenary Square.’
      • ‘After the service, Wing Commander Dave Forbes took the salute at the march past.’
      • ‘Mountbatten gratified his ambition by staging an elaborate victory parade, at which he took the salute in Rangoon on 15 June.’
      • ‘The Mayor and Commanding Officer took the salute at the War Memorial.’
      • ‘The Division was formally disbanded at a parade on Horse Guards Parade in 1919 at which the Prince of Wales took the salute, and survivors commissioned Sir Edward Lutyens to create an appropriate memorial to overlook the spot.’
      • ‘The mayor later took the salute at a march past by the ship's company of the frigate, alongside Cdr Carden.’
      • ‘As Prince Michael took the salute, a small gathering of anti-war protesters made themselves heard, but failed to disrupt proceedings.’


Late Middle English: from Latin salutare ‘greet, pay one's respects to’, from salus, salut- ‘health, welfare, greeting’; the noun partly from Old French salut.