Saltiness
A naturally occurring crystal of //sodium chloride//, also known as table salt, from a potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada.
A naturally occurring crystal of sodium chloride, also known as table salt, from a potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Any flavor or gustatory perception that could be loosely described as something like drinking water is called a moist sensation. We use words like briny, fresh, pickled, pure, fishy, drinkable, alkaline, clean, saline, etc. to describe specific tastes in this category. A picture of a big wave is used as an icon for moist sensations. You can click on icons to come back to a page like this for easy reference.

saltyicon.jpg
By the third hypothesis, the reference experience for describing moist sensations is tasting the ocean. So to make a binary description of a moist taste sensation, compare it with a sip of seawater. Report the result using one of the following algebraic statements. If a sensation cannot be compared with drinking water, then say it is not a moist sensation and write

$\delta_{\sf{I}}=0$

If a sensation is like tasting the ocean, then call it a brackish taste and express this as

$\delta_{\sf{I}}=+1$

If a sensation is not like tasting like the ocean, then say it is potable and report

$\delta_{\sf{I}}=-1$

If it is both like and not-like tasting the ocean, then it is a composite sensation

$-1 \le \delta_{\sf{I}} \le 1$

The number $\delta_{\sf{I}}$ is called the saltiness. And the word salty is often used as a catchall for moist sensations.

Summary
Noun Definition
Moist Sensation $\sf{\text{Any taste sensation similar to a drink of water.}}$ 1-16
Adjective Definition
Saltiness $\delta_{\sf{I}} \equiv \begin{cases} +1 &\sf{\text{if a taste sensation is brackish }} \\ -1 &\sf{\text{if a taste sensation is potable }} \end{cases}$ 2-9
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