Psalter vs salter

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Psalter and salter are two words that are often confused. They are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, they are homophones. We will examine the difference between the words psalter and salter, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

The psalter is the Book of Psalms, usually referring to a prayer book which is a compendium of the Book of Psalms. The Psalms are a group of poems in the Old Testament written by a number of authors including Moses, David, Solomon and others. There are 150 psalms in the Book of Psalms.  Psalters generally have devotions in addition to the compendium of psalms. The word psalter is derived from the Greek word psalterion, which means harp or stringed instrument.

A salter is someone who manufactures, sells or uses salt, or a contraption that distributes salt. The word salter is not used very often, though it is a proper word. The word salter is derived from the Old English word for salt, sealt, and the suffix -er, from the Old English suffix -ere which means man who has to do with.


The Polyglot Psalter was printed in Genoa a decade after his father’s death, in 1516, but its two-page footnote on the life of Christopher Columbus on a verse in Psalms 19 mentioning “the ends of the earth” rubbed him the wrong way. (The Times of Israel)

He tapped at his computer and brought up an entry from the sacrists’ roll of Canterbury Cathedral datable to 1321, with a detailed description of a manuscript psalter in a jewelled binding then preserved as a major relic at the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. (The Guardian)

“It would be a full-blown truck that would have the salter on the back with the brine tanks with the plow. “(The Utica Observer-Dispatch)

A salter truck was brought in and Alliant Energy and The Red Cross were also called to the scene. (The Fond du Lac Reporter)