1. the act of saving a ship or its cargo from perils of the seas.
  2. the property so saved.
  3. compensation given to those who voluntarily save a ship or its cargo.
  4. the act of saving anything from fire, danger, etc.
  5. the property saved from danger.
  6. the value or proceeds upon sale of goods recovered from a fire.
verb (used with object), sal·vaged, sal·vag·ing.
  1. to save from shipwreck, fire, etc.

Origin of salvage

From Old French, dating back to 1635–45; see origin at save1, -age
Related formssal·vage·a·ble, adjectivesal·vage·a·bil·i·ty, nounsal·vag·er, nounnon·sal·vage·a·ble, adjectiveun·sal·vage·a·ble, adjectiveun·sal·vage·a·bly, adverbun·sal·vaged, adjective
Can be confusedsalvage selvage

Synonyms for salvage Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for non-salvageable


  1. the act, process, or business of rescuing vessels or their cargoes from loss at sea
    1. the act of saving any goods or property in danger of damage or destruction
    2. (as modifier)a salvage operation
  2. the goods or property so saved
  3. compensation paid for the salvage of a vessel or its cargo
  4. the proceeds from the sale of salvaged goods or property
verb (tr)
  1. to save or rescue (goods or property) from fire, shipwreck, etc
  2. to gain (something beneficial) from a failureshe salvaged little from the broken marriage
Derived Formssalvageable, adjectivesalvager, noun

Word Origin for salvage

C17: from Old French, from Medieval Latin salvāgium, from salvāre to save 1
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

Word Origin and History for non-salvageable



1640s, "payment for saving a ship from wreck or capture," from French salvage (15c.), from Old French salver "to save" (see save (v.)). The general sense of "the saving of property from danger" is attested from 1878. Meaning "recycling of waste material" is from 1918, from the British effort in World War I.



1889, from salvage (n.). Related: Salvaged; salvaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper