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Definition the most important points about a thing

There are numerous less-commonly used senses of salient.  All of them can be thought of a derivation of prominent:

military:  the part of the line of battle that projects closest to the enemy

geometry:  (of angles) pointing outward at an angle of less than 180 degrees

heraldry:  a leaping horse on a coat-of-arms
  • Please tell us just the salient facts.
salient = the most important points about a thing
  • Kennicott was respectful as he inquired whether the Germans had good aeroplanes, and what a salient was, and a cootie, and Going West.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • Emancipation was a salient issue for Union soldiers because it was controversial.
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • The last salient point in which the systems of these creatures differed from ours was in what one might have thought a very trivial particular.
    H.G. Wells  --  The War of the Worlds
  • Jordan had to think for a moment before any memory of high school even clouded its way into his mind, much less a salient one.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • That boulder will be the salient.
    Michael Shaara  --  The Killer Angels
  • I grabbed him, told him to go no further, and waited a few salient moments.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Water is Wide
  • Hanne set the food out on plastic placemats, and soon she knew all the salient facts about him and he her.
    Dave Eggers  --  A Hologram for the King
  • This belt was the most salient thing about him.
    Jack London  --  The Call of the Wild
  • I've noted the salient passages.
    Alexs Pate  --  Amistad
  • You would know those towns again, recognize the salient detail, seen so close up.
    Eudora Welty  --  One Writer's Beginnings
  • "Handsome and respectable," she says again, in case we missed this salient quality the first time.
    Libba Bray  --  A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • In the offices around him, official readers go through thick reports, boiling the information down to the salient paragraph.
    Julia Alvarez  --  In the Time of the Butterflies
  • It was, she thought, the most salient of his priestly qualities.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • With nearer approach these fragmentary sounds became pieced together, and were found to be the salient points of the tune called "Nancy's Fancy."
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Return of the Native
  • He probed my story for facts that would dovetail into the more salient charges.
    Alice Sebold  --  Lucky
  • It was during such moments that Jason learned the salient facts about the woman who had saved his life.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Identity
  • I had, of course, read this section many times before, but some of the salient facts had evidently failed to impress themselves clearly on my mind.
    Farley Mowat  --  Never Cry Wolf
  • One of the salient points of his character was the search for adventures and a love of romance.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Three Musketeers
  • Perhaps educators and researchers are wrong to be so hung up on the black-white test score gap; the bad-school/good-school gap may be the more salient issue.
    Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner  --  Freakonomics

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