Definition of savage in English:

savage

adjective

  • 1(of an animal or force of nature) fierce, violent, and uncontrolled.

    ‘packs of savage dogs roamed the streets’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He shuddered at the thought of those savage beasts.’
    • ‘The horrible noises of the savage beasts filled them with fear.’
    • ‘Young children would be fed to the savage dogs of Persavoran fame.’
    • ‘One could never estimate what damage such a natural savage force might bring.’
    • ‘One would think that they were getting ready to unlock the cage of some savage beast.’
    • ‘He looked very much like a savage creature, with his wild, shaggy black hair and infuriated and crazed grin.’
    • ‘There was a savage dog that barked at me, but at least I had a rest from the hill.’
    • ‘They say that music soothes the savage beast, but it can also make the sick feel better.’
    • ‘He explained some things about the human mind, and how mankind began originally as savage hunters, fighting for their food and anything that got in their way.’
    • ‘Writers from La Bruyère to Zola may have likened peasants to savage beasts, but in fact, even within the social structure of the old regime, it was possible for rural productivity to rise significantly.’
    • ‘Tonight, she cheated death by inches when a savage mountain lion attacked.’
    • ‘We had terrible visions of savage marauders destroying sacred idols, throwing them around with vicious glee.’
    • ‘The savage attack has been classified as a hate crime by the Police Department.’
    • ‘The alleged victim also claims he was dragged backstage where the savage attack continued.’
    • ‘A savage attack left me with post-traumatic stress disorder.’
    • ‘How do you understand the savage cruelty shown by the captors to their prisoners?’
    • ‘These fierce and savage warriors actually consisted of Jutes, Friesians, Angles and Saxons.’
    ferocious, fierce
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    1. 1.1Cruel and vicious; aggressively hostile.
      ‘a savage attack on the government’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is a savage attack on the archetypical French liberal bourgeois.’
      • ‘This was a cynical and savage attack on the manufactured pop band culture of the 1990s.’
      • ‘Both couples suffer in unhappy marriages, and they deal with their situations through denial, deceit, and savage personal attacks.’
      • ‘The reality is that he lost the confidence of the company, was attacked by leading artists and attracted a savage motion in the House of Commons which together made his position untenable.’
      • ‘After five years he escaped to America, from where he continued his savage denunciations of British policy in Ireland and around the world.’
      • ‘The background of Silvia Prieto is the savage capitalism of the market economy while in La ciénaga it is the decrepit world of traditional rural economies.’
      • ‘His natural gift for writing led him to enjoy hurling savage personal abuse at his Tory opponents, but he was not pleased when his attacks were returned with interest.’
      • ‘His influence on both reports was very great and he was appointed secretary to the Poor Law Commission in 1834, a post which brought him savage criticism.’
      • ‘Even his old financial wizardry was in doubt: two loans floated in August failed miserably after savage criticism in the Assembly.’
      • ‘The Servant is a savage indictment of the English class system, and its waning hold over all aspects of the working and cultural life of Britain.’
      • ‘The publication of the book had brought, besides savage criticism and attack, a compensatory leavening of pleasant new literary acquaintances in its wake.’
      • ‘It is a savage indictment of American political consciousness from one of the most underrated of British film-makers.’
      vicious, brutal, cruel, sadistic, ferocious, fierce, violent, bloody, murderous, homicidal, bloodthirsty, bestial, brutish, barbaric, barbarous, merciless, ruthless, pitiless, heartless, inhuman, harsh, callous, cold-blooded
      fierce, blistering, scathing, searing, stinging, devastating, mordant, trenchant, caustic, cutting, biting, withering, virulent, vitriolic
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  • 2(of something bad or negative) very great; severe.

    ‘the decision was a savage blow for the town’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The company's near demise paralleled the savage downturn in market demand, aggravated by an unsupportable overhead structure.’
    • ‘Officials said negotiators had been close to agreement when the IMF made new demands for savage budget cuts.’
    • ‘Women are often subjected to a savage and unexpected attack of the maternal instinct in their late thirties and sometimes those who have chosen not to have children come to regret it.’
    • ‘His first period in office as Prime Minister is best known for his savage repression of labour unrest, which earned him the hostility of the Socialist Party and left him little time for social reform.’
    severe, crushing, devastating, crippling, terrible, awful, dreadful, dire, catastrophic, calamitous, ruinous
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  • 3dated, offensive (of a person or group) primitive and uncivilized.

    ‘a savage race’
    • ‘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, non-literate, in a state of nature, heathen
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    1. 3.1(of a place) wild-looking and inhospitable; uncultivated.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Playwright Edward Bond supplied sinewy dialogue, but nothing could compete with Roeg's startling images of fierce orange suns, lizards and insects, and savage terrain.’
      • ‘Namibia's landscape has a savage grandeur unlike that of any other African country.’
      • ‘I lived in northern, wild, savage England, just on the cusp of being Scotland.’
      • ‘Hot and dry in summer, bitterly cold and exposed in winter, the Cevennes may be a harsh and unforgiving land but it possesses a raw, savage and inspiring beauty.’
      • ‘The scene was one of powerful and savage beauty.’
      rugged, rough, wild, inhospitable, uninhabitable
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noun

  • 1A brutal or vicious person.

    ‘the mother of one of the victims has described his assailants as savages’
    • ‘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, ogre, demon, sadist, animal
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  • 2dated, offensive A member of a people regarded as primitive and uncivilized.

    • ‘To be thus condescended to by heathen savages was intolerable.’
    • ‘The people there are savages, but they don't attack often.’
    • ‘He depicted the Kentucky frontier as a howling wilderness inhabited by wild beasts and uncivilized savages.’
    • ‘He'd been told that they are thieves, savages, and barbarians.’
    • ‘The farmers in their turn described them as savages and pagans.’
    • ‘It was generally accepted that different rules applied when fighting savages than in warfare between European powers.’
    barbarian, wild man, wild woman, primitive, heathen
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  • 3Heraldry
    A representation of a bearded and semi-naked man with a wreath of leaves.

verb

[with object]
  • 1(especially of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul.

    ‘police are rounding up dogs after a girl was savaged’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dog savaged the plaintiff when she entered the yard at night with her boyfriend who worked there.’
    • ‘Helen treats the fact that the bear has savaged her hands and reduced them to bleeding stumps as a minor inconvenience.’
    • ‘Nature's brutal and unforgiving approach is most evident when the orca whale savages a newly born grey whale and its mother, tearing away the whole baby's outer jaw in one swift motion.’
    • ‘Jebb - though not McLaren - also points to another grievance, in Aboriginal camp dogs, sometimes numbering thirty or more, savaging the stock.’
    • ‘In the meantime, the bear that savaged Mitch also makes a return and is taken into captivity, bringing back another ghost from Einar's past.’
    • ‘We'd have heard if people were being savaged by vulpine man-eaters.’
    • ‘The family's cat, she said, had savaged the bird, and one wing had been torn.’
    • ‘The lions chased him, and savaged his leg before he fell into a thorn bush too dense for them to reach him.’
    • ‘While still intact for the most part, the body has been chewed and savaged brutally.’
    • ‘There could be no liability for a dog known to be vicious until after it had managed to savage someone.’
    maul, attack, tear to pieces, lacerate, claw, bite, mutilate, mangle
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    1. 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’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The $10.5 million show, a haphazard pastiche of various famous Dr. Seuss stories, had been savaged by critics when it debuted in late November.’
      • ‘Marxist critics savaged La Strada as an abandonment of neorealist principles, but as a director, Fellini was never really a neorealist to begin with.’
      • ‘As predicted by many US pundits prior to its release, the film has been relentlessly savaged by the critics, and looks like a surefire contender for one of the worst movies of the year.’
      • ‘The book, influenced greatly by him, had largely been savaged by Australian critics and I wanted to see what he himself would make of it.’
      • ‘Critics are going to savage this film out of respect to Charade and that's not really fair.’
      • ‘Critics across the country savaged the film upon its initial release, dismissing it as directionless and dreary.’
      • ‘It hardly seems to matter that the critics have universally savaged this show.’
      • ‘Critics have, predictably, savaged the story, but everyone agrees the show is spectacular.’
      • ‘Perhaps no other great European choreographer, save Roland Petit, has been as neglected and critically savaged in the United States.’
      • ‘And the celebrity in question is violently torn down from their pedestal, savaged for as long as it pleases people, and finally cast aside, no longer of any use to anyone,’
      • ‘As someone who has written more than his share of omnibus reviews/poetry chronicles, especially for this magazine, I know the temptation reviewers are subject to by way of savaging thin volumes of verse.’
      • ‘Alexander fully expects to be savaged by reviewers again.’
      • ‘No one savaged the law's delays and inequities more energetically than Dickens, yet no one worried more about the results of revolution and lawlessness.’
      • ‘Pundits lost no time in savaging the weakness of the script, the poverty of the acting and shambolic directing.’
      • ‘I have had occasion over the years to savage this or that actor or screenwriter or director in print as part of my work as a film critic.’
      • ‘Rarely in the history of magazines has a former editor so savaged his successor.’
      • ‘Popular British and Australian historians have savaged the commanders at the Dardanelles as cold-blooded murderers.’
      criticize severely, attack, lambaste, condemn, flay, shoot down, pillory, revile
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

savage

/ˈsavɪdʒ/