The British spy thriller series, The Worricker Trilogy, consists of three films: Page Eight, Turks & Caicos, and Salting the battlefield. What is the meaning of the last title?

I tried looking in Collins ED under salting, but the following information did not really help me.

tr.v. salt·ed, salt·ing, salts

  1. To add, treat, season, or sprinkle with salt.
  2. To cure or preserve by treating with salt or a salt solution.
  3. To provide salt for (deer or cattle).
  4. To add zest or liveliness to: salt a lecture with anecdotes.
  5. To give an appearance of value to by fraudulent means, especially to place valuable minerals in (a mine) for the purpose of deceiving.

and this definition seems related to the title but I'm not sure.

salting n (Physical Geography) (often plural) an area of low ground regularly inundated with salt water; often taken to include its halophyte vegetation; a salt marsh

[The Free Dictionary]

  • 1
    Hi Eric, welcome to EL&U! As-is your question is likely to be flagged as low-quality or closevoted because you haven't mentioned what research you have already done to help you find out what the title means. Did you look into it at all online prior to posting your question here? If so, please edit to reflect this. Mar 16 '16 at 9:15
  • 2
    Is the title of the book called Turks & Caicos? But what has " 3 films of a serie" got to do with your request. Oh, you listed the name of the three films. "Page 8" is a film/movie? Really? The question is very unclear
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 16 '16 at 9:18
  • This is the reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Page_Eight
    – Thruston
    Mar 16 '16 at 9:52
  • I've voted to reopen the question on the basis of OP's edit. Mar 16 '16 at 11:00
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a reference question that can be answered with some online searching skills. The OP googled under one of the search terms, salting, but needs to enter both salting and battlefield in the search string to yield relevant information. To remove references to the TV prog. and book, type the search string: salting battlefield -Worricker -TV Search tips at google Mar 17 '16 at 14:35

This is a good question. I don't know why it has caused so much anger!

It looks as though the dictionary refered to by the OP has missed one - the practice of salting the earth. More on that topic here. Sometimes this was done as part of a 'scorched earth' policy as it stops plants from growing, and sometimes it was a bit more ritualistic.

Either way, using Salting the Battlefield as a title is a reference to this practice.

  • 3
    It was only causing anger because he did not, at first, add his research and elaborate on his question.
    – White Fang
    Mar 16 '16 at 13:52
  • Given that it's a spy thriller, I suspect that there is also supposed to be a little bit of sense 5. in the OP question, ie deceiving the enemy spies into thinking it's worth them engaging in some sort of action.
    – Thruston
    Mar 18 '16 at 16:10
  • "Salting the earth, or sowing with salt, is the ritual of spreading salt on conquered cities to symbolize a curse on their re-inhabitation. ... There is no evidence that sufficient amounts of salt were used to render large tracts of land unusable." And IMO anyway, no reason to believe it was ever actually done for effect; too expensive.
    – Mazura
    Jun 3 '16 at 0:49
  • @WhiteFang the OP never did in the end, the research and elaboration you see was done by other users who wanted to help out.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 3 '16 at 6:32

Salting the battlefield means making sure that nothing will grow there after the battle; or, alternatively, cursing the ground on which the battle was fought by the ritual sowing of symbolic amounts of salt; or, alternatively, the said salting were done before the battle, it would mean "a curse upon those who plan to fight here; or, alternatively, it could be nonsense ginned up by greedy writers.

  • 2
    But Roaring Fish has already said this. Aug 27 '16 at 16:54

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