Salt Definition in Chemistry

The Different Meanings of "Salt"

Spoons filled with different types of salt

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The word salt has different meanings in common usage and in chemistry. If you ask someone to pass the salt at dinner, this refers to table salt, which is sodium chloride or NaCl. In chemistry, sodium chloride is an example of a type of salt. A salt is an ionic compound produced by reacting an acid with a base or occurring as a natural mineral. In other words, a salt is produced by a neutralization reaction.


A salt is an ionic compound in which the cation is a metal and anion is a nonmetal or group of nonmetals.

Specific examples include sodium chloride (NaCl), potassium chloride (KCl), and copper sulfate (CuSO4). Other salts are magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), ammonium dichlorate, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Salt Definition in Chemistry." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 28). Salt Definition in Chemistry. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Salt Definition in Chemistry." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 27, 2023).