Etymology
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salutation (n.)

late 14c., salutacioun, "a courteous or respectful greeting; a ceremonial visit; a sign of respect," from Old French salutacion "greeting" and directly from Latin salutationem (nominative salutatio) "a greeting, saluting," noun of action from past-participle stem of salutare "to greet, pay respects," literally "wish health to" (see salute (v.)). As a word of greeting (elliptical for "I offer salutation") it is recorded from 1530s. Related: Salutations.

A greeting generally expresses a person's sense of pleasure or good wishes upon meeting another. Salutation and salute are by derivation a wishing of health, and are still modified by that idea. A salutation is personal, a salute official or formal ; salutation suggests the act of the person saluting, salute is the thing done ; a salutation is generally in words, a salute may be by cheers, the dipping of colors, the roll of drums, the firing of cannon, etc. [Century Dictionary]

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Definitions of salutation

salutation (n.)
an act of honor or courteous recognition;
Synonyms: salute
salutation (n.)
(usually plural) an acknowledgment or expression of good will (especially on meeting);
Synonyms: greeting
salutation (n.)
word of greeting used to begin a letter;
From wordnet.princeton.edu