sav·​age·​ry | \ ˈsa-vij-rē How to pronounce savagery (audio) , -vi-jə-\
plural savageries

Definition of savagery

1a : the quality of being savage
b : an act of cruelty or violence
2 : an uncivilized state

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Examples of savagery in a Sentence

The savagery of the attack was horrifying. an act of pure savagery the savageries committed by the soldiers
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Recent Examples on the Web

News broke this week that Nikki Joly, a transgender gay-rights activist in Jackson, Mich., has been charged with burning down his own home, seemingly for the purpose of presenting himself as the victim of anti-gay savagery. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Boomtown for Hoaxers," 28 Feb. 2019 To debunk the Obama narrative of Iran, the Trump administration should highlight more vividly the regime’s savagery abroad and brutality at home. Reuel Marc Gerecht, WSJ, "Tehran Counts on a Divided West," 12 Dec. 2018 But the practices and superstitions that govern family life are purely of a specific time and place, when local folkways were swept away by high-tech savagery. WSJ, "‘Birds of Passage’ Review: Splendor and the Grass," 14 Feb. 2019 The first episode of HBO's eight-part adaptation of this book, My Brilliant Friend, is faithful to this framing device, placing Lenù and her closest friend Lila in a community ravaged by grotesque, often unexpected displays of savagery. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "My Brilliant Friend Producer Breaks Down the Violence of Episode 1," 19 Nov. 2018 And yet there was an underlying imperialist savagery, seen in the bloody suppression of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, combined with cynicism. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, New York Times, "A History of the British Empire at Its Peak," 30 Mar. 2018 An astonishing collection of laughs — whinnies, giggles, squeals, snorts, heaves — gradually colors the narrative, until this seemingly harmless man becomes, in effect, not just a witness to savagery, but also an accessory. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: Surprise Lessons From John Lithgow’s ‘Stories by Heart’," 11 Jan. 2018 There was some clarity Thursday from Larry Peterson, the GBI crime scene analyst who was there in 1983 and recalled from his own notes the savagery of the crime. Christian Boone, ajc, "Damaged evidence, shifty witnesses mark truck-dragging murder trial," 21 June 2018 Notorious for his misogyny, Mr Duterte excoriates female critics with particular savagery. The Economist, "A new book explores the myths and reality of Rodrigo Duterte’s life," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'savagery.' 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 savagery

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for savagery

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for savagery

The first known use of savagery was circa 1616

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More Definitions for savagery



English Language Learners Definition of savagery

: a cruel or violent quality : a savage quality
: a cruel or violent act or action


sav·​age·​ry | \ ˈsa-vij-rē How to pronounce savagery (audio) \
plural savageries

Kids Definition of savagery

1 : an uncivilized condition or character
2 : an act of cruelty or violence

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More from Merriam-Webster on savagery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for savagery

Spanish Central: Translation of savagery

Nglish: Translation of savagery for Spanish Speakers

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