The name Salisbury, which is first recorded around the year 900 as Searoburg (dativeSearobyrig), is a partial translation of the Roman Celtic name Sorviodūnum. The Brittonic suffix -dūnon, meaning "fortress" (in reference to the fort that stood at Old Sarum), was replaced by its Old English equivalent -burg. The first part of the name is of obscure origin. The form "Sarum" is a Latinization of Sar, a medieval abbreviation for Middle EnglishSarisberie.
The two names for the city, Salisbury and Sarum, are humorously alluded to in a 1928 limerick from Punch:
There was an old Sultan of Salisbury
Who wanted some wives for his halisbury, So he had them sent down By a fast train from town,
For he thought that his motor would scalisbury.
as well as in a 1963 limerick (which relies on knowledge that the neighbouring county of Hampshire is commonly abbreviated as 'Hants') printed within Pan's Book of Limericks:
There was a young curate of Salisbury
Whose manners were quite halisbury-scalisbury He would wander round Hampshire Without any pampshire
Till the Vicar compelled him to walisbury.