—noun, plural sal·vos, sal·voes.
- a simultaneous or successive discharge of artillery, bombs, etc.
- a round of fire given as a salute.
- a round of cheers or applause.
—noun, plural sal·vos. Archaic.
- an excuse or quibbling evasion.
- something to save a person's reputation or soothe a person's feelings.
1719, alteration of salva (1591) "simultaneous discharge of guns," from It. salva "salute, volley" (cf. Fr. salve, from It.), from L. salve "hail!," lit. "be in good health!," the usual Roman greeting, regarded as imperative of salvere "to be in good health," but prop. voc. of salvus "healthy" (see safe (adj.)). The notion is of important visitors greeted with a volley of gunfire into the air.
"Rolfe's worms, as one might call them, illustrate another aspect of its course: Jamestown was the opening salvo, for English America, of the Columbian Exchange."
- Charles Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created