savage

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See also: Savage

English

Etymology

From Middle English savage, from Old French sauvage, salvage (wild, savage, untamed), from Late Latin salvaticus, alteration of Latin silvaticus (wild"; literally, "of the woods), from silva (forest", "grove).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈsævɪdʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ævɪdʒ
  • Hyphenation: sav‧age

Adjective

savage (comparative more savage, superlative most savage)

  1. Wild; not cultivated.
    a savage wilderness
  2. Barbaric; not civilized.
    savage manners
    • 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor [], OCLC 15864594; 3rd edition, London: Printed by W[illiam] Taylor [], 1719, OCLC 838630407, pages 194–195:
      I obſerv'd a Place where there had been a Fire made, and a Circle dug in the Earth, like a Cockpit, where it is ſuppoſed the Savage Wretches had ſat down to their inhumane Feaſtings upon the Bodies of their Fellow-Creatures.
    • 1826 September, Edward D. Griffin, “Sermon IV. [] ”, in The National Preacher, volume 1, number 4, page 51:
      What nation since the commencement of the Christian era ever arose from savage to civilized without Christianity?
  3. Fierce and ferocious.
    savage beasts
    a savage spirit
  4. Brutal, vicious, or merciless.
    • 1963, C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins, 2nd Revised edition, page 9:
      Fear of their cargo bred a savage cruelty into the crew. One captain, to strike terror into the rest, killed a slave and dividing heart, liver and entrails into 300 pieces made each of the slaves eat one, threatening those who refused with the same torture. Such incidents were not rare.
    • 2016 April 18, Winnie Hu; Kate Pastor, “Ex-Inmate Describes Rikers Beating as ‘Open Season’ for Guards on Trial”, in The New York Times:
      Mr. Lightfoot, 31, returned to the witness stand for the second day and continued a harrowing, first-person account of the savage beating that he received in July 2012, when, Bronx prosecutors contend, the officers decided to teach him a lesson.
    He gave the dog a savage kick.
    The woman was killed in a savage manner.
  5. (Britain, slang) Unpleasant or unfair.
    - I'll see you in detention.
    - Ah, savage!
  6. (Ireland, US, slang) Great, brilliant, amazing.
    Although it didn't look very good, it tasted absolutely savage.
    Synonyms: wicked; see also Thesaurus:excellent
  7. (heraldry) Nude; naked.

Related terms

Translations

Noun

savage (plural savages)

  1. (derogatory) An uncivilized or feral human; a barbarian.
    • 1847, Benjamin Disraeli, Tancred: or The New Crusade, page 251:
      'Well, my lord, I don't know,' said Freeman with a sort of jolly sneer; 'we have been dining with the savages.'
      'They are not savages, Freeman.'
      'Well, my lord, they have not much more clothes, anyhow; and as for knives and forks, there is not such a thing known.'
    • 1901 July 19, “Horses in time of War”, in The Agricultural Journal and Mining Record[1], volume 4, number 10, page 296:
      In the year 1879, when the Utes succeeded in getting some United States troops into what was afterwards known as Thornburg's "rat hole," several mounted couriers succeeded in slipping through the circling line of savages.
  2. (figurative) A defiant person.

Alternative forms

Translations

Verb

savage (third-person singular simple present savages, present participle savaging, simple past and past participle savaged) (transitive)

  1. To attack or assault someone or something ferociously or without restraint.
    No matter how anyone might savage me, I should stay strong.
  2. (figurative) To criticise vehemently.
    His latest film was savaged by most reviewers.
    • 2013 August 10, Lexington, “Keeping the mighty honest”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      British journalists shun complete respectability, feeling a duty to be ready to savage the mighty, or rummage through their bins. Elsewhere in Europe, government contracts and subsidies ensure that press barons will only defy the mighty so far.
  3. (of an animal) To attack with the teeth.
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To make savage.
    • 1698, Robert South, Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions
      Its bloodhounds, savaged by a cross of wolf.

Translations

Anagrams


Middle English

Alternative forms

Etymology

Borrowed from Old French savage, from Late Latin salvāticus, from Latin silvāticus.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /saˈvaːdʒ(ə)/, /saˈvau̯dʒ(ə)/

Adjective

savage

  1. savage, barbaric, unmannered, primitive
  2. wild, untamed, harsh
  3. mighty, strong, powerful
  4. ferocious, angry, attacking, opposed
  5. (rare) demented, crazy, insane
  6. (rare) ill-thought, ill-advised

Derived terms

Descendants

  • English: savage
  • Scots: savage

References