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sa·li·ent /ˈseɪliənt, ˈseɪlyənt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[sey-lee-uhnt, seyl-yuhnt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. prominent or conspicuous: salient traits.
2. projecting or pointing outward: a salient angle.
3. leaping or jumping: a salient animal.
4. Heraldry. (of a beast) represented as leaping: a lion salient.
5. a salient angle or part, as the central outward-projecting angle of a bastion or an outward projection in a battle line.
6. Physical Geography. a landform that extends out beyond its surroundings, as a spur projecting from the side of a mountain. Compare reentrant (def. 4).
[Origin: 1555–65; < L salient- (s. of saliéns, prp. of salīre to spring, jump), equiv. to sali- verb s. + -ent- -ent]
—Synonyms 1. important; striking, remarkable.
—Antonyms 1. inconspicuous, unimportant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
The way the teacher was using is the first definition. Pretty close to what I thought it was or at least in the ballpark. As we used to say in high school "Oooh SAT word" .