[sav, sahv]
verb (used with object), salved, salv·ing.
  1. to soothe with or as if with salve; assuage: to salve one's conscience.

Origin of salve

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English sealf; cognate with German Salbe salve, Sanskrit sarpis melted butter; (v.) Middle English salven, Old English sealfian

Synonyms for salve


verb (used with or without object), salved, salv·ing.
  1. to save from loss or destruction; to salvage.

Origin of salve

First recorded in 1700–10; back formation from salvage Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for salving

Contemporary Examples of salving

Historical Examples of salving

  • The regiment after salving its wounds resumed its watchful march.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • William yielded, salving his conscience by refusing to speak to the girl.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • It welcomed us from the rumour of battle with a most salving peace.

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

  • Alma asked, salving her self-respect with a poor affectation of haughtiness.

    The Whirlpool

    George Gissing

  • Then, with the salving of his torment, his senses seemed to return.

    Neighbors Unknown

    Charles G. D. Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for salving


  1. an ointment for wounds, sores, etc
  2. anything that heals or soothes
verb (tr)
  1. to apply salve to (a wound, sore, etc)
  2. to soothe, comfort, or appease

Word Origin for salve

Old English sealf; related to Old High German salba, Greek elpos oil, Sanskrit sarpis lard


  1. a less common word for salvage
  2. an archaic word for save 1 (def. 3)

Word Origin for salve

C18: from salvage
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 salving



Old English sealf "healing ointment," from West Germanic *salbo- "oily substance" (cf. Old Saxon salba, Middle Dutch salve, Dutch zalf, Old High German salba, German salbe "ointment"), from PIE *solpa-, from root *selp- "fat, butter" (cf. Greek elpos "fat, oil," Sanskrit sarpis "melted butter"). The figurative sense of "something to soothe wounded pride, etc." is from 1736.



Old English sealfian "anoint (a wound) with salve," from Proto-Germanic *salbojanan (cf. Dutch zalven, German salben, Gothic salbon "to anoint"), from the root of salve (n.). Figurative use from c.1200. Related: Salved; salving.



"to save from loss at sea," 1706, back-formation from salvage (n.) or salvable. Related: Salved; salving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

salving in Medicine


[săv, säv]
  1. An analgesic or medicinal ointment.
Related formssalve v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.