Do salted and peppered have the same meaning?

Is salting videos throughout my website the same as peppering videos throughout my website?


I think they have different meanings to many people in the US. "Salt" is not obvious when applied, but can change the nature of things, hence the old-time sense of "salting a gold mine" by distributing gold dust through an otherwise worthless mine to make it appear more valuable. This metaphor can then be extended to cases where, eg, bits of "fake news" are intermingled with seemingly unbiased content.

(Note that "salted" might also be used in the sense of "flavored" or "spiced up" -- "The article was salted with subtle humor." This is a largely unrelated sense of the word.)

"Pepper" is more obvious when applied. The most common metaphorical use in the US is probably along the lines of "peppered with gunshots", where, eg, a picture of a crook's getaway vehicle displays multiple dark spots where bullets struck it.

In, say, a piece of writing, one might say it's "peppered with bad jokes", or "peppered with snide asides aimed at person X". This simply means that these things are distributed more or less randomly throughout the work. For the most part you recognized them when you saw them.

So the main difference, when referring to distributing instances of Thing X throughout the body of Thing Y, is that "salted" instances of Thing X are only noticeable on close, critical examination, while "peppered" instances are, for most observers, clearly obvious.

In terms of videos on your website, "peppered with videos" would merely mean that there were a lot of links which led to videos and were somehow identified as such. "Salted with videos" would mean that this was one of those annoying web sites where every third link you innocently tried took you into an obnoxious video.


Both of those verbs are used metaphorically in your example sentence.

From Merriam-Webster.


1 a : to sprinkle or season with pepper
1 b : to shower with or as if with shot or other missiles


4 a : to sprinkle with or as if with a salt

If using the first sense, the meaning is the same. You are sprinkling the videos throughout your website. It doesn't matter what the analogous spice is that's being referred to.

But there is a difference in meaning if you consider the second sense of each word. With that, pepper is used more forcefully, almost as if the target is being damaged by something. Meanwhile, salt remains more neutral.

Given those second senses, to use pepper might be interpreted as meaning there are a lot of in your face videos that are displayed blatantly; whereas salt might mean fewer videos that are also located in less obtrusive locations.

But it would really be up to each person how they interpreted the different words.

  • 1
    Hehe ... yea, why not just use sprinkle? Apr 8 '19 at 3:28

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