verb (used with object), sav·aged, sav·ag·ing.

to assault and maul by biting, rending, goring, etc.; tear at or mutilate: numerous sheep savaged by dogs.
to attack or criticize thoroughly or remorselessly; excoriate: a play savaged by the critics.

Origin of savage

1250–1300; Middle English savage, sauvage (adj.) < Middle French sauvage, salvage < Medieval Latin salvāticus, for Latin silvāticus, equivalent to silv(a) woods + -āticus adj. suffix
Related formssav·age·ly, adverbsav·age·ness, nounhalf-sav·age, adjectivehalf-sav·age·ly, adverbpre·sav·age, adjectivequa·si-sav·age, adjectivequa·si-sav·age·ly, adverbsem·i·sav·age, adjectivesem·i·sav·age, nounun·sav·age, adjectiveun·sav·age·ly, adverbun·sav·age·ness, noun

Synonyms for savage

1. wild, feral, fell; bloodthirsty. 2. wild. 3. infuriated. 5. rough, uncultivated. 9. churl, oaf.

Synonym study

1. See cruel.

Antonyms for savage

1. mild. 2, 4. cultured. 5. cultivated. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for savagely

Contemporary Examples of savagely

Historical Examples of savagely

  • He leaped to his feet and seized her savagely by the shoulders.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • "I am not looking after pretty women this voyage," said Morris, savagely.

  • The unknown, lurking in the midst of the sticks and moss, was savagely clutching him by the nose.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • "Some folks 'll say anything but their prayers," snapped Eri savagely.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Ere any could stop me I had seized him by throat and belt and shaken him savagely.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for savagely



wild; untamedsavage beasts of the jungle
ferocious in temper; viciousa savage dog
uncivilized; crudesavage behaviour
(of peoples) nonliterate or primitivea savage tribe
(of terrain) rugged and uncultivated
obsolete far from human habitation


a member of a nonliterate society, esp one regarded as primitive
a crude or uncivilized person
a fierce or vicious person or animal

verb (tr)

to criticize violently
to attack ferociously and woundthe dog savaged the child
Derived Formssavagedom, nounsavagely, adverbsavageness, noun

Word Origin for savage

C13: from Old French sauvage, from Latin silvāticus belonging to a wood, from silva a wood



Michael Joseph. 1872-1940, New Zealand statesman; prime minister of New Zealand (1935-40)
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 savagely

c.1400; see savage (adj.) + -ly (2).



mid-13c., "fierce, ferocious;" c.1300, "wild, undomesticated, untamed" (of animals and places), from Old French sauvage, salvage "wild, savage, untamed, strange, pagan," from Late Latin salvaticus, alteration of silvaticus "wild," literally "of the woods," from silva "forest, grove" (see sylvan). Of persons, the meaning "reckless, ungovernable" is attested from c.1400, earlier in sense "indomitable, valiant" (c.1300).



"wild person," c.1400, from savage (adj.).



"to tear with the teeth, maul," 1880, from savage (adj.). Earlier "to act the savage" (1560s). Related: Savaged; savaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper