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): /ˈsævɪd͡ʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ævɪd͡ʒ
  • Hyphenation: sav‧age

Adjective

savage (comparative more savage, superlative most savage)

  1. Wild; not cultivated or tamed.
    a savage wilderness
    a savage forest
  2. Barbaric; not civilized.
    savage manners
    • 1719 May 6 (Gregorian calendar), [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], →OCLC, 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?
    • 1886 October – 1887 January, H[enry] Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., published 1887, →OCLC:
      It is so absurd to advance into the presence of savage royalty after the fashion of an Irishman driving a pig to market, for that is what we looked like, and the idea nearly made me burst out laughing then and there.
  3. Primitive; lacking complexity or sophistication.
  4. Fierce and ferocious.
    savage beasts
    a savage spirit
  5. Brutal, vicious, or merciless.
    He gave the dog a savage kick.
    The woman was killed in a savage manner.
    • 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 with 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.
    • 2018 October 17, Drachinifel, 14:13 from the start, in Last Ride of the High Seas Fleet - Battle of Texel 1918[1], archived from the original on 4 August 2022:
      The fight is not all one-sided. Lion is taking a savage beating as the two flagships trade body blows almost independent of the furious carronade going on behind them.
  6. (slang) Of an insult or person: disrespectful, audacious, and either blunt or sarcastic, in a hilarious way.
    Wow, that was a savage burn. Absolutely no chill.
    • 2018 February 22, Matt Bonesteel, “(headline)”, in The Washington Post[2], Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-12-25:
      'Oops, I did it again': Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson's deke was so savage it has a name
    • 2020 May 14, Ron Dicker, “Stephen Colbert Turns Rand Paul Diss Into Grim Campaign Slogan For Trump”, in HuffPost[3], archived from the original on 2022-12-07:
      Stephen Colbert revealed a savage new campaign slogan for President Donald Trump on Wednesday ― and it came courtesy of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
    • 2020 June 18, Diyora Shadijanova, “What Gen Z'ers Really Think of Millennials”, in VICE[4], archived from the original on 2023-05-12:
      But now Gen Z is coming for them and it's absolutely savage. TikTok comment sections like this one have revealed the fact no one likes millennials and their endless Harry Potter references.
    • 2020 October 25, Alfred Konuwa, “WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 Results: Winners, News And Notes On October 25”, in Forbes[5], New York, N.Y.: Forbes Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2020-11-01:
      This match continued the theme from last month as the two cousins started off with heated trash talk. Roman Reigns telling Jey Uso "I will end you..." in the same tone a parent tells their kid "I'm warning you..." was so savage.
    • 2023 January 13, Sam Jones, “'Out of your league': Shakira song mocking ex Gerard Piqué breaks YouTube record”, in The Guardian[6], London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-05-12:
      A savage new song by Shakira in which the Colombian star, philanthropist and committed believer in the veracity of hips ridicules her former partner Gerard Piqué has logged more than 63m YouTube views in 24 hours, making it the most watched new Latin song in the platform's history.
  7. (UK, slang) Unpleasant or unfair.
    – I'll see you in detention.
    – Ah, savage!
  8. (Ireland, US, slang) Great, brilliant, amazing.
  9. (US, slang) Severe, rude, aggressive.
    – They were so savage to them!

Derived terms

Related terms

Related terms

Translations

Noun

savage (plural savages)

  1. (derogatory) A person not living in a civilization; 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.'
    • 1899 March, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number MI, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part II, page 491:
      The glimpse of the steamboat had for some reason filled those savages with unrestrained grief.
    • 1901 July 19, “Horses in time of War”, in The Agricultural Journal and Mining Record[7], 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. (figuratively) An aggressively defiant person.
    Their kids are little savages! One of them bit me the other day.
  3. (slang) Someone who speaks in an audacious, hilarious, and often sarcastic manner.
    • 2022 January 6, Kalhan Rosenblatt, “Elmo's feud with a pet rock has consumed the internet”, in NBC News[8], archived from the original on 2023-05-29:
      It was on Dec. 29 that TikTok star Liv Pearsall posted a video titled "7 Times Elmo Was an Absolute Savage," in which the star with more than 2.7 million followers lip-synced to various Elmo-ments.
    • 2022 August 31, Emily Lefroy, “I ’hard launch’ my first dates on Instagram: Confident or unhinged?”, in New York Post[9], New York, N.Y.: News Corp, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-10-05:
      "Sometimes they would stay up while she'd have a whole new guy in a relationship," she wrote in a comment. "LMFAO she is a savage."

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.
    • 2019 March 6, Drachinifel, 26:48 from the start, in The Battle of Samar (Alternate History) - Bring on the Battleships![10], archived from the original on 20 July 2022:
      But that was only the start, because the Fletchers - (obviously) carrying two torpedo launchers - were only launching half-salvos, so one full wave of torpedoes had driven off the cruisers after having savaged the destroyers, aaand then it was a case of, well, here come twenty-five destroyers, here comes[sic] two hundred and fifty torpedoes, hello Japanese battleships, dodge this!
  2. (figuratively) 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.
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th edition, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC:
      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)/, /sau̯ˈvaːdʒ(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