Definition of noble savage in English:

noble savage


  • A representative of primitive humankind as idealized in romantic literature, symbolizing the innate goodness of humanity when free from the corrupting influence of civilization.

    ‘guilt over the genocide of indigenous peoples led to an exaltation of the noble savage’
    • ‘The Scythians and the Hyperboreans (sometimes the Aethiopians) were the noble savages of the Ancients.’
    • ‘In the tradition of the noble savage of literature, Tarzan must confront the hypocrisy, illogic, and brutality of the human world, the world that he is told he belongs to but which his upbringing has not prepared him for.’
    • ‘The American Indian as a noble savage became quite popular as a theme in painting and in the decorative arts, as can be seen on the cup illustrated above.’
    • ‘The mystery's starting point is Hobbes's view of the moral universe: the conviction that in the state of nature, man is not a noble savage but a natural-born-killer.’
    • ‘Here, seen just after the horrors of the Second World War, was a divine titan from a primitive and pure society, a modern representation of the noble savage of the Enlightenment.’
    • ‘This popular environmental movement revived the romanticized image of the noble savage as the quintessential endangered ‘species’.’
    • ‘And the delusion is that the only authentic society is made up from noble savages, wresting their comfort and protection from raw nature.’
    • ‘And it will be done not by treating the Maori as noble savages, but simply by treating them as equals.’
    • ‘It described noble savages playing oboes and amorously frolicking in tropical glades.’
    • ‘The aristocracy tend to be cowardly and deceitful while the lowborn are noble savages.’
    • ‘Under such conditions man is a degraded animal, and the noble savage as great a myth as the elixir of life.’
    • ‘In 1961 Kroeber's widow Theodora wrote a best seller portraying Ishi as a noble savage; the book became a favorite of the 1960s flower children.’
    • ‘The noble savage bit gets a bit old and at times downright insulting as his voiceover appeals to the inherent spirituality of India's people to help save the dwindling tiger population.’
    • ‘Shakespeare is not a partisan of the noble savage who lives by instinct alone: rather, it is the savage in man that he fears and detests.’
    • ‘There's always that troubling liberal idea of the noble savage at the back of one's head, with his lovely ancient ways and his especial rituals.’
    • ‘Or I was cast as the noble savage, with a jewel in my navel and a long black wig.’


noble savage