Definition of savage in English:


Line breaks: sav¦age
Pronunciation: /ˈsavɪdʒ



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  • 1(Chiefly in historical or literary contexts) a member of a people regarded as primitive and uncivilized.
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    • 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, heathen; cannibal
  • 2A brutal or vicious person: the mother of one of the victims has described his assailants as savages
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    • 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.
  • 3 Heraldry A representation of a bearded and semi-naked man with a wreath of leaves.


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  • 1(Especially of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul: police are rounding up dogs after a girl was savaged
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    • 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, mutilate, mangle; worry
  • 1.1Subject to a vicious verbal attack; criticize brutally: he savaged the government for wasting billions in their failed bid to prop up the pound
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    • 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, flay, shoot down, pillory, revile
    informal jump on, tear to pieces, take to pieces, take/pull apart, lay into, pitch into, hammer, slam, bash, do a hatchet job on, crucify, give something a battering, roast, skewer, throw brickbats at, knock
    British informal slate, rubbish, slag off, monster
    North American informal bad-mouth, pummel
    Australian/New Zealand informal trash, bag, give someone bondi
    archaic excoriate, slash



More example sentences
  • This sparked a series of student demonstrations that were savagely suppressed, killing over 100.
  • The point remains, however, that war is a savagely gruesome business.
  • His stepfather savagely beats him, breaks his telescope, and throws him out of the house.


More 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'.

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