Synonyms & Antonyms of savage

(Entry 1 of 3)

2 an uncivilized person
  • inhabitants of exotic lands were invariably portrayed by early travel writers as savages

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Synonyms & Antonyms of savage (Entry 2 of 3)

1 not civilized
  • Tarzan is usually portrayed as a noble but savage warrior of the jungle

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3 living outdoors without taming or domestication by humans
  • savage beasts that seemed threatening to the tourists

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Antonyms for savage



Synonyms & Antonyms of savage (Entry 3 of 3)

to criticize harshly and usually publicly
  • book reviewers mercilessly savaged his latest novel

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About savage

How is the word savage different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of savage are barbarous, cruel, ferocious, and fierce. While all these words mean "showing fury or malignity in looks or actions," savage implies the absence of inhibitions restraining civilized people filled with rage, lust, or other violent passion.

a savage criminal

Where would barbarous be a reasonable alternative to savage?

Although the words barbarous and savage have much in common, barbarous implies a ferocity or mercilessness regarded as unworthy of civilized people.

barbarous treatment of prisoners

When would cruel be a good substitute for savage?

The words cruel and savage can be used in similar contexts, but cruel implies indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it.

the cruel jokes of schoolboys

When can ferocious be used instead of savage?

While in some cases nearly identical to savage, ferocious implies extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality.

a ferocious dog

When might fierce be a better fit than savage?

The synonyms fierce and savage are sometimes interchangeable, but fierce applies to humans and animals that inspire terror because of their wild and menacing aspect or fury in attack.

fierce warriors

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Time Traveler for savage

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

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Cite this Entry

“Savage.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on savage

Nglish: Translation of savage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of savage for Arabic Speakers


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