Above the salt

Also found in: Idioms.
phrases which have survived the old custom, in the houses of people of rank, of placing a large saltcellar near the middle of a long table, the places above which were assigned to the guests of distinction, and those below to dependents, inferiors, and poor relations. See Saltfoot.

See also: Salt

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References in classic literature ?
Old lines about knights at table in the great banquet halls, and of those above the salt and below the salt, and of Vikings feasting fresh from sea and ripe for battle, came to me; and I knew that the old times were not dead and that we belonged to that selfsame ancient breed.
At this, above the salt, sat the visiting nobles and the grown members of their families, of both sexes, -- the resident Court, in effect -- sixty-one per- sons; below the salt sat minor officers of the house- hold, with their principal subordinates: altogether a hundred and eighteen persons sitting, and about as many liveried servants standing behind their chairs, or serving in one capacity or another.
Specific symptoms that occur due to salt injury include damage on the side of the plant that faces the street, plants downwind have more damage than those upwind, damage is worse near the street and decreases with more distance, and plant parts above the salt spray show little or no damage.
The lord and lady of the manor and his rich and important guests sat above the salt, while lesser guests, serfs and servants found themselves way down at the end, where the salt was out of reach.
Replace one (1) 250 watt HPS light fixture above the salt dome overhead doorwith one (1) 105 watt LED light fixture.
A deep well at Zakum reached 17,370 feet and was still above the salt pillow which forms this large, low-amplitude feature whose surface area is 660 sq km.
But as Lee settled into her new role, she met an unexpected roadblock at times when recruiting candidates to become a part of a standout team in Utah: Potential employees took one look at the cloud of pollution lingering above the Salt Lake Valley during winter inversions and decided to chase job offers in cities with cleaner air instead.
As he perches high above the salt marshes scanning the horizon, bird watchers, locals and tourists inspired by Monty's story keep watch, too.