Worth one’s Salt – Idiom of the Day

ieltsmaterial.com - idiom of the day for IELTS speaking
ieltsmaterial.com - idiom of the day for IELTS speaking

Worth one’s Salt – Idiom of the Day for IELTS Speaking

Meaning: Good or competent at the job | deserve the pay or reward that you get

Idiom’s Origin:

In some ancient societies, roads and cities developed as a result of the salt trade.
The expression to be worth one’s salt, which means you’re competent and deserve what you’re earning, is most often said to have its roots in ancient Rome, where soldiers were sometimes paid in salt or given an allowance to purchase it. The word salary is derived from the Latin “salarium,” which originally referred to a soldier’s allowance to buy salt.

Example:

  •  Any IELTS teacher worth his salt would do exactly as I did.
  • They decided that I am worth my salt, and I can stay on as an office clerk.
  • Any students worth their salt should be aware of the latest changes in entrance examination.

Exercise

Complete the sentences with the expressions in the box. Check your answers in the answer key on this page.
a hard nut to crack                          a piece of cake                                  in a pickle
not their cup of tea                          worth their salt

  1. Something that is very easy is _________________________.
    2. Someone who is in a difficult situation is _________________________.
    3. Someone who is a good worker is _________________________.
    4. Something someone doesn’t like is _________________________.
    5. Someone who is difficult to persuade in an argument is _________________________.

Read the situations and choose the best response. Circle a or b
1. I’ve tried to persuade Emily not to marry Bob. After all, he’s 20 years older than she is. But she won’t listen.
a. Well, she’s always been worth her salt.
b. You know, she’s always been a hard nut to crack.

  1. Tanya received a very challenging assignment at work, and she completed it three days early.
    a. She shouldn’t cry over spilled milk.
    b. She’s always been worth her salt.

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