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[sey-ver] /ˈseɪ vər/
the quality in a substance that affects the sense of taste or of smell.
a particular taste or smell.
distinctive quality or property.
power to excite or interest.
Archaic. repute.
verb (used without object)
to have savor, taste, or odor.
to exhibit the peculiar characteristics; smack (often followed by of):
His business practices savor of greed.
verb (used with object)
to give a savor to; season; flavor.
to perceive by taste or smell, especially with relish:
to savor the garden's odors.
to give oneself to the enjoyment of:
to savor the best in life.
Also, especially British, savour.
Origin of savor
1175-1225; (noun) Middle English sav(o)ur < Old French savour < Latin sapōrem, accusative of sapor taste, derivative of sapere to taste (cf. sapient); (v.) Middle English sav(o)uren < Old French savourer < Late Latin sapōrāre, derivative of sapor
Related forms
savorer, noun
savoringly, adverb
savorless, adjective
savorous, adjective
outsavor, verb (used with object)
unsavored, adjective
Can be confused
savior, savor, savory.
1. relish, smack; odor, scent, fragrance. See taste.
Usage note
See -or1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for savors
Historical Examples
  • The overworked kitchen has not enough pride left to keep its savors to itself.

    The Joys of Being a Woman Winifred Kirkland
  • Anything that savors of the pedantic is to be strictly avoided.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • Criticism which is designed merely to advertise the critic serves no good purpose, and savors of charlatanry or something worse.

  • Between thee and me, I cannot endure affectation,—it savors of the country.

    Children of the Soil Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • To my mind, it savors of some one far greater in brain power, in intrigue and in ability than those unshaven, misguided Russians.

    The Radio Detectives A. Hyatt Verrill
  • It had about it odors of the East; savors of Araby the blest.

    The Believing Years Edmund Lester Pearson
  • It is, perhaps, too intimate; it savors slightly of the Mrchen.

    The Translations of Beowulf Chauncey Brewster Tinker
  • But I must say no more on this head, even to a friend; it savors so much of vanity.

  • There is a legend attached to this remarkable rock that savors very much of the goose with the golden eggs.

    Across China on Foot Edwin Dingle
  • Anything that savors of the farm and of farm life is pleasant to me.

    Rambles with John Burroughs Robert John De Loach
Word Origin and History for savors



mid-13c., from Old French savor "flavor, taste; sauce, seasoning; delight, pleasure," from Latin saporem (nominative sapor) "taste, flavor," related to sapere "to have a flavor" (see sapient).


c.1300, from Old French savorer "taste, breathe in; appreciate, care for," from Late Latin saporare, from Latin sapor (see savor (n.)). Related: Savored; savoring.



c.1300, from Old French savorer "taste, breathe in; appreciate, care for," from Late Latin saporare, from Latin sapor (see savor (n.)). Related: Savored; savoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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