"medicinal ointment or adhesive preparation for external use on wounds and sores," Old English sealf "healing ointment," from West Germanic *salbo- "oily substance" (source also of Old Saxon salba, Middle Dutch salve, Dutch zalf, Old High German salba, German salbe "ointment"), from PIE *solpa-, from root *selp- "fat, butter" (source also of Greek elpos "fat, oil," Albanian gjalpë "butter," Sanskrit sarpis "melted butter"). Beekes, however, sees a Pre-Greek word.
The figurative sense of "something to soothe" wounded pride, etc. is from 1736; earlier figurative use was as "a spiritual or religious remedy" (12c.).
"apply medicinal or sacramental ointment to," Middle English salven, from Old English sealfian "anoint (a wound) with salve," from Proto-Germanic *salbojanan (source also of Dutch zalven, Old Frisian salva, German salben, Gothic salbon "to anoint"), from the root of salve (n.).
Figurative use is by late 12c. in reference to sin or vice; the non-religious sense of "to help, remedy, atone for" is by 1570s. Related: Salved; salving.
"to save from loss at sea," as a ship or goods, 1706, a back-formation from salvage (n.) or salvable. Related: Salved; salving.
"medical charlatan, impudent and fraudulent pretender to medical skill," 1630s, short for quacksalver (1570s), from obsolete Dutch quacksalver (modern kwakzalver), literally "hawker of salve," from Middle Dutch quacken "to brag, boast," literally "to croak" (see quack (v.)) + salf "salve," salven "to rub with ointment" (see salve (n.)). As an adjective from 1650s.
The oldest attested form of this quack in English is as a verb, "to play the quack" (1620s). The Dutch word also is the source of German Quacksalber, Danish kvaksalver, Swedish kvacksalvare.
A quack is, by derivation, one who talks much without wisdom, and, specifically, talks of his own power to heal ; hence, any ignorant pretender to medical knowledge or skill. Empiric is a more elevated term for one who goes by mere experience in the trial of remedies, and is without knowledge of the medical sciences or of the clinical observations and opinions of others; hence, an incompetent, self-confident practitioner. A mountebank is generally a quack, but may be a pretender in any line. Charlatan (literally 'chatterer') is primarily applied, not to a person belonging to any particular profession or occupation, but to a pretentious cheat of any sort. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
Also "one who pretends to knowledge of any kind" (1630s).
"unctuous medicinal salve for external application," late 13c., oynement, from Old French oignement "ointment, salve, unguent," from Vulgar Latin *unguimentum, from Latin unguentum (see unguent). The first -t- emerged early 14c. in English, from Old French, which got it by influence of oint, past participle of the verb oindre "to anoint."
"large, heavy plate or tray on which anything is presented," 1660s, formed in English on the model of platter, etc., from French salve "tray used for presenting objects to the king" (17c.), from Spanish salva "a foretasting of the food or drink" of one's master, to test it for poison (a procedure known as pre-gustation). Hence "tray on which food was placed to show it was safe to eat." The Spanish noun is from salvar "to save, render safe," from Late Latin salvare (see save (v.)).
Compare credenza, which means etymologically "belief" and began as the word for a sideboard on which taste-tested food was set. Middle English had salver in the sense of "a healer," used as an epithet of Jesus or the Virgin.
late 14c., sauf-gard, "protection, security, defense," from Old French sauve garde "safekeeping, safeguard" (13c.), from salve, sauve (fem. of sauf; see safe (adj.)) + garde "a keeping" (see guard (n.)). Meaning "one who protects, something that offers security from danger" is recorded from late 15c.
1719, an alteration of salva (1590s) "simultaneous discharge of guns, intended as a salute," from Italian salva "salute, volley" (French salve, 16c., is from Italian), from Latin salve "hail!," literally "be in good health!," the usual Roman greeting. It was regarded as the imperative of salvere "to be in good health," but it is properly the vocative of salvus "healthy" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept").
The notion is of important visitors greeted with a volley of gunfire into the air; the word was applied afterward to any concentrated fire from a number of guns, originally artillery pieces (of firearms by 18c.). As a verb by 1839. The same noun in the Latin sense, via Medieval Latin, came into English in senses common 17c.-18c. but archaic now: "a saving clause or provision; a solution or explanation; an expedient," etc.
salutation in greeting, c. 1200, from Old Norse heill "health, prosperity, good luck," or a similar Scandinavian source, and in part from Old English shortening of wæs hæil "be healthy" (see health; and compare wassail).
The interj. hail is thus an abbreviated sentence expressing a wish, 'be whole,' i. e., be in good health, and equiv. to L. salve, plural salvete, or ave, plural avete .... [Century Dictionary]