Have a good look at the poster above.
I was quite surprised to see this ad for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on the subway a couple of weeks ago.
I did not attack it with a felt marker to change it to the correct "salacious".
When you see what seem to be flagrant mistakes like this from sources that should know better, there are a number of possible reasons.
- Young People Today have created a new word by blending "salacious" and "delicious". There seems to be little evidence of such a phenomenon, however. (And judging by my frequent visits to TSO concerts, Young People Today are not their major market, to put it mildly). If it does indeed exist and you are more hip than I, please let me know.
- The mistake may be intentional to grab the viewers' attention. Indeed, some cunning person at the TSO publicity office was perhaps thinking, "If we misspell "salacious" (or invent a blend of "salacious" and "delicious"), some pedant will take a picture of it and post it on their Facebook feed or write a blog post about it and therefore give us more publicity for our concert than if we spelled it properly!" When advertisers intentionally misspell words, though, they usually pick on more common ones than "salacious", so that people will know the mistake is intentional.
- They really didn't know any better, had only ever heard "salacious" spoken, never seen it written, had NEVER HEARD OF A DICTIONARY, and spelled it the way it sounded to them. I assume the TSO's ads have to be approved by several people, so I find it amazing that no one noticed this.
"Salacious" is now used mostly of written or spoken accounts that are titillating and risqué, focusing on the sexual. Originally, when borrowed into English in the 1600s, it described lecherous people (as well as the apparently notoriously lecherous pigeons, poultry, and sparrows, who knew).
The word is derived from Latin salax (lascivious, lecherous) from salire (to jump, leap). According to the Trésor de la langue francaise, this was because one of the meanings of salire was "(of an animal) to mount another animal in mating".
But I wouldn't put it past those ancient Romans to have also spoken of "jumping someone's bones"!