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noble savage

noun
1.
(in romanticism) an idealized view of primitive man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Examples from the Web for noble savage
Historical Examples
  • I'm afraid they are spoiling him just as the missionaries spoil the noble savage.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • At least so it seemed, for he stood there and stared like a noble savage.

    A Pessimist Robert Timsol
  • "You are 'the noble savage,'" said he, having concluded his inspection.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • "Wild he is, as the noble savage who ran in the woods," said Cousin Mivers.

    Kenelm Chillingly, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • It's nothing, Seorita: just a "noble savage" after a few centuries of civilisation.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • Looking up, I told the noble savage—for I have the right to call him noble—all.

    Buckskin Mose Buckskin Mose
  • Only now the noble savage has been put into corduroy trousers.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • It was not always so, when wild in woods the noble savage ran.

    Falling in Love Grant Allen
  • My position is, that if we have anything to learn from the noble savage, it is what to avoid.

    Reprinted Pieces Charles Dickens
  • In short, like the noble savage of our own wilds, his moral attributes have been greatly exaggerated.

Contemporary definitions for noble savage
noun

a primitive human as characterized in literature, representing natural goodness and simplicity when not encumbered by civilization

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noble savage in Culture

noble savage definition


Someone who belongs to an “uncivilized” group or tribe and is considered to be, consequently, more worthy than people who live within civilization. Many writers and thinkers through the centuries of Western civilization have believed in the noble savage. The expression is particularly associated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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