savage

adjective
sav·​age | \ˈsa-vij \

Definition of savage 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : not domesticated or under human control : untamed savage beasts

b : lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings : fierce, ferocious a savage criminal

2 : wild, uncultivated seldom have I seen such savage scenery— Douglas Carruthers

3a : boorish, rude the savage bad manners of most motorists— M. P. O'Connor

b : malicious

4 : lacking complex or advanced culture : uncivilized a savage country

savage

noun

Definition of savage (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a person belonging to a primitive society

2 : a brutal person

3 : a rude or unmannerly person

savage

verb
savaged; savaging

Definition of savage (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to attack or treat brutally

Savage

biographical name
Sav·​age | \ˈsa-vij \

Definition of Savage (Entry 4 of 4)

Michael Joseph 1872–1940 prime minister of New Zealand (1935–40)

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Other Words from savage

Adjective

savagely adverb
savageness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for savage

Adjective

fierce, ferocious, barbarous, savage, cruel mean showing fury or malignity in looks or actions. fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack. fierce warriors ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality. a ferocious dog barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people. barbarous treatment of prisoners savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion. a savage criminal cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it. the cruel jokes of schoolboys

Examples of savage in a Sentence

Adjective

He was the victim of a savage attack. The coast was lashed by savage storms. He wrote savage satires about people he didn't like.

Noun

What kind of savage could have committed such a terrible crime? what kind of savage would hurt a baby?

Verb

He looked like he'd been savaged by a wild animal. A hurricane savaged the city. The newspapers savaged his reputation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Efforts to redefine Indianness as something glorious—as noble-savage Indian, or eco-warrior Indian—cannot distract from that central dilemma for long. The Economist, "Tommy Orange’s debut novel is a work of defiance and recovery," 5 July 2018 The exact death toll can never be known, but historians believe about a million people from both sides died that savage winter of 1942-3 when the Nazi war machine was stopped from crossing the Volga, then surrounded and defeated. Washington Post, "Volgograd provides the proper perspective at World Cup," 20 June 2018 In Greek mythology, cannibalism was seen as an abominable practice that divided the civilized and savage worlds. Pallavi Kottamasu, BostonGlobe.com, "Were cannibals really so bad?," 2 June 2018 With the savage ironies of the Rondo-Burlesque, Salonen saw no need to italicize the bitter humor that Mahler makes perfectly clear on the page. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the CSO in an eloquent Mahler Ninth Symphony," 18 May 2018 Sebes called it 'brutal' and 'savage' and there was fighting in the tunnel, but Hungary progressed nonetheless. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 16 Weeks to Go - The Magical Magyars, the Best Team Never to Win the World Cup?," 2 Mar. 2018 Bruce Cromer and Kelly Mengelkoch star in Shakespeare’s savage and heartbreaking tale of mistrust, betrayal and redemption. David Lyman, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Shakespeare Company to stage first-ever musical," 22 Feb. 2018 In Ennis’s final soliloquy, after Jack has died (almost surely, as Ennis suspects, from a savage attack by men who know the truth about him), Mr. Wuorinen gets the balance between plaintive expressivity and modernist edginess exactly right. New York Times, "Review: ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ the Opera, Falls Short of Its Potential," 1 June 2018 What started as a ground breaking music video ended in a savage attack by a cowardly K9. Taylor Seely, USA TODAY, "Chris Hemsworth hysterically dancing to 'Wrecking Ball' for his kids will crack you up," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During the third period of the Golden Knights' Game 1 win, with the game tied 4-4, Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson laid out Jonathan Marchessault with a savage hit that the Vegas forward never saw coming. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Tom Wilson delivers controversial hit again in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final," 28 May 2018 Rihanna is a master of many things — reinventing footwear, winning the Met Gala, among others — but her signature Bad Gal move is a savage clapping back to nonsense. Seventeen, "Rihanna Served Up a Perfect Clapback to Body Shamers," 6 June 2017 In 1998, however, a dispute over the nondescript border town of Badme turned into a savage, year-and-a-half-long war that claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides. Paul Schemm, Washington Post, "Ethiopia says it is ready to implement Eritrea peace deal and privatize parts of the economy," 5 June 2018 This summer, all our thirst traps and sext exchanges are hereby sponsored by Rihanna, the alpha and omega of savage. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Rihanna’s Lingerie Line Will Inspire You to Be Your Thottiest Self," 11 May 2018 Fred, a violent man-child always happy to inflict his savage will on women, is immediately on board. refinery29.com, "Handmaid’s Tale," 20 June 2018 White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Kentucky Woman Posts Shocking Photos After Killing 'Rare' Black Giraffe, Says It Was for Conservation," 3 July 2018 No side, left, right, or otherwise, has a monopoly on violence; even Tibetan Buddhist politics sometimes turns savage. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Political Harassment Is for the Birds," 6 July 2018 White american savage who is partly a neanderthal comes to Africa and shoot down a very rare black giraffe coutrsey of South Africa stupidity. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Kentucky Woman Posts Shocking Photos After Killing 'Rare' Black Giraffe, Says It Was for Conservation," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Dan Ingram, one of the first and wittiest of the Top-40 radio DJs who succeeded by savaging his own medium, died June 24 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Marc Fisher, latimes.com, "Dan Ingram, early 'Top 40' DJ known for biting humor, dies at 83," 29 June 2018 Dan Ingram, one of the first and wittiest of the Top-40 radio DJs who succeeded by savaging his own medium, died June 24 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Marc Fisher, Washington Post, "Dan Ingram, popular DJ who poked fun at his own medium, dies at 83," 28 June 2018 Giuliani is now publicly negotiating with Mueller over whether or not Trump will sit for an interview while simultaneously savaging the broader investigation and Comey's role in all of it. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Heeeeere's Rudy!: The Giuliani bomb has hit the White House," 3 May 2018 The choice was savaged by critics who noted that the EU does not advocate for disarmament, as Alfred Nobel had championed. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize? How about the Parkland students?," 30 May 2018 The only good thing to come out of this terrible law was Justice Antonin Scalia’s brilliant and solitary dissent savaging it in Morrison v. Olson (1988)—arguably his finest opinion. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "Thank You, Jeff Sessions," 2 Apr. 2018 That's definitely a diplomat talking after really getting savaged by the president at that breakfast. Fox News, "The politics of Trump's tough love for NATO," 12 July 2018 David Cox, the superintendent in Allegany County in western Maryland, is one of many school leaders trying to deal with opioid epidemics savaging their communities. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Ten problems teachers did not have to deal with a decade ago," 18 Apr. 2018 The girl, who was savaged in the attacks, had enormous eyes, a quiet smile and one name: Asifa. Fox News, "8-year-old girl's rape, death in India sparks widespread protests mired in religious politics," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'savage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of savage

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for savage

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French salvage, savage, from Late Latin salvaticus, alteration of Latin silvaticus of the woods, wild, from silva wood, forest

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Dictionary Entries near savage

sauvignon blanc

sav

Sava

savage

Savage

savagedom

savagerous

Statistics for savage

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Time Traveler for savage

The first known use of savage was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for savage

savage

verb

English Language Learners Definition of savage

: to attack or treat (someone or something) in a very cruel, violent, or harsh way

savage

adjective
sav·​age | \ˈsa-vij \

Kids Definition of savage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not tamed : wild savage beasts

2 : being cruel and brutal : fierce a savage attack

Other Words from savage

savagely adverb They fought savagely.

savage

noun

Kids Definition of savage (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person belonging to a group with a low level of civilization

2 : a cruel or violent person

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