intr.v. sal·lied, sal·ly·ing, sal·lies
1. To rush out or leap forth suddenly: a bird that sallies out from a branch to catch flying insects.
2. To issue suddenly from a defensive or besieged position to attack an enemy.
3. To set out on a trip or excursion: sallied forth to see the world.
n. pl. sal·lies
1. A sudden rush forward or leap.
2. An assault from a defensive position; a sortie.
3. A sudden effort toward action or expression: "[She] kept up a sally of brilliant but doomed attempts at conversation" (Donna Tartt).
4. A sudden quick witticism; a quip.
5. A venturing forth; a jaunt.
[From French saillie, a sally, from Old French, from feminine past participle of salir, to rush forward, from Latin salīre, to leap; see sel- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.