Definition of savage in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsavij/


1(Of an animal or force of nature) fierce, violent, and uncontrolled: tales of a savage beast a week of savage storms
More example sentences
  • I saw the transformation take place, the placid exterior to the violent, savage beast.
  • But life among the dogs was savage; no law existed but that of fang and force.
  • The two combatants charged at each other with weapons drawn and fought like savage beasts.
ferocious, fierce;
wild, untamed, untamable, undomesticated, feral
1.1Cruel and vicious; aggressively hostile: they launched a savage attack on the budget
More example sentences
  • The actor has launched a savage attack on Hollywood - saying the film industry is full of racists.
  • Having clarified that, we cannot remain silent during what appears to be a ruthless and savage attack by the media on Charlie's character.
  • We tried to have a debate on serious historical presidents, and you make it into a savage attack on the current president.
vicious, brutal, cruel, sadistic, ferocious, fierce, violent, bloody, murderous, homicidal, bloodthirsty
literary fell
archaic sanguinary
informal smash-mouth
fierce, blistering, scathing, searing, stinging, devastating, mordant, trenchant, caustic, cutting, biting, withering, virulent, vitriolic
1.2(Chiefly in historical or literary contexts) primitive; uncivilized.
Example sentences
  • It set all England talking about contemporary painting, and sent the more alert not only to Paris but to museums and collections where they could have a look at primitive, oriental and savage art.
  • Then he tells her of his wild tales of the savage barbarian Conan, and she sees the fire in his eyes.
  • Some people argue that capital punishment is a savage act and must be abolished in every state.
primitive, uncivilized, unenlightened, nonliterate
1.3(Of a place) wild-looking and inhospitable; uncultivated.
Example sentences
  • I don't want to stay forever lost in this savage wilderness.
  • They turned useless prairies into golden wheat fields, their wagons into powerful locomotives, and a savage wilderness into a network of commerce and trade.
  • Bridget bought me a very complicated-looking pair of hiking boots, for all the savage terrain I am likely to encounter.
rugged, rough, wild, inhospitable, uninhabitable
1.4(Of something bad or negative) very great; severe: this would deal a savage blow to the government’s fight
More example sentences
  • But life had dealt them, and Radio Kilkenny, a savage blow, a knockout punch.
  • Other service industries are reacting to excess capacity and weak demand with savage price wars, further depressing prices.
  • The company has announced a savage price cut of its videogame system.
severe, crushing, devastating, crippling, terrible, awful, dreadful, dire, catastrophic, calamitous, ruinous


1(Chiefly in historical or literary contexts) a member of a people regarded as primitive and uncivilized.
Example sentences
  • The film's black characters (many of them white actors in blackface) are either servile or savages.
  • Under Jack's rule, the boys become uncivilized savages.
  • It is commonly said that it shows how thin is the veneer of civilisation and how readily we humans can return to the state of primitive savages or animals and once again become blindly destructive.
barbarian, wild man, wild woman, primitive
1.1A brutal or vicious person: the mother of one of the victims has described his assailants as savages
More example sentences
  • Close up, they didn't look at all like the vicious savages she had encountered when she first came here.
  • The problem is at heart we're basically just savages, animals, and always will be, ready to use violence to solve all our problems, no matter what the consequences might be.
  • They are heartless savages and even less than animals.
brute, beast, monster, barbarian, sadist, animal


[with object]
1(Especially of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul: ewes savaged by marauding dogs
More example sentences
  • If it's our ewe your dog is savaging that setout man may be saving you $125 and my wife's formidable wrath.
  • People are still savaged by dogs, but the topic is no longer fashionable.
  • Wilson tried to toss his coat over the dog to subdue it, but the dog savaged his hand and wrist until J.M. shot it.
maul, attack, tear to pieces, lacerate, claw, bite
1.1Subject to a vicious verbal attack; criticize brutally: Fowler savaged her in his next review
More example sentences
  • As Toronto theatre critics dispense increasingly disparate opinions, some shows are savaged in one rag and lionized in another.
  • Critics are savaging a government-funded course in Birmingham where grown-ups are being taught how to text and download ringtones.
  • Most critics savaged his comedy when it was released last fall, but really, what were they expecting?
criticize severely, attack, lambaste, condemn, denounce, pillory, revile
informal pan, tear to pieces, hammer, slam, do a hatchet job on, crucify, trash
formal excoriate



Pronunciation: /ˈsavijnəs/
Example sentences
  • I would argue that the violence in the Middle East is pretty mild mannered compared to the savageness occurring in Gujarat, a province in Northwestern India.
  • They are very good natured animals when domesticated, but I believe it to be impossible to cure that savageness, which all I have seen seem to possess.
  • Presentation is bland and the lack of graphic detail just doesn't do justice to the obvious savageness of the creatures.


Middle English: from Old French sauvage 'wild', from Latin silvaticus 'of the woods', from silva 'a wood'.

  • According to the origin of the name, savages live in woods. Savage derives from Latin silva ‘a wood’, the source also of the literary word sylvan (mid 16th century), and perhaps of sylph (mid 17th century), an imaginary spirit of the air. The overtones of savage are usually negative, suggesting violence and cruelty, but in the later 18th century the French writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) conceived the idea of the noble savage, an idealized being without the corrupting influence of civilization, showing the natural goodness of humankind.

Words that rhyme with savage


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sav·age

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