Saline is an adjective that means "salty." While "salty" is a perfectly good word to use when describing French fries or tears, saline tends to be a word you might hear in a more official setting, like in a hospital or in a geology class.

If you watch a lot of hospital dramas on TV, you have definitely heard the exclamation, “Nurse, the patient needs an IV saline solution, stat!” because sick people in hospitals tend to get saline solutions to keep them hydrated. Saline mostly has a scientific meaning; it is not usually used to mean salty tasting. If you want to get really scientific, salt is actually called sodium chloride, but "sodium chloride pretzels" would probably not fly off the grocery store shelves.

Definitions of saline

adj containing salt

“a saline substance”
containing or filled with salt

n an isotonic solution of sodium chloride and distilled water

saline solution
Type of:
isosmotic solution, isotonic solution
a solution having the same osmotic pressure as blood

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.