[ seyv ]
/ seɪv /
Save This Word!

verb (used with object), saved, sav·ing.
verb (used without object), saved, sav·ing.


How Does "Save" Have So Many Definitions?

This story about Karen and Karl may just help illustrate that the word "save" can be used in a lot of different ways! In fact, "save" seems to always be here for us when we need it most.

There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of save

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English sa(u)ven, from Old French sauver, salver, from Late Latin salvāre “to save”; see origin at safe


Other definitions for save (2 of 3)

[ seyv ]
/ seɪv /

except; but: All the guests had left save one.
except; but (usually followed by that): He would have gone, save that he had no means.

Origin of save

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English sauue, sauf, save, variant of safe

synonym study for save

1. See except1.

Other definitions for save (3 of 3)

[ sah-vuh ]
/ ˈsɑ və /

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of save?

Save means to rescue from danger, to lessen the use of something, or to set something aside for later. Save has many other uses, especially as a verb and a noun.

If you save someone, you prevent them from being harmed or injured. Nonliving things can also be saved from destruction or damage. A person who saves someone or something else can be called a savior.

  • Real-life examples: Superheroes save the world from supervillains and disasters. Firefighters often save people from burning buildings. A gardener may need to save their plants from hungry animals.
  • Used in a sentence: We managed to gather support and save the park from being bulldozed. 

When you save gas or save time, you are lowering the amount that you usually spend. Things that lower the amount of stuff needed are called savers with another noun describing what is being saved, as in time saver. The noun saving, meaning a reduction, is based on this sense of save.

  • Real-life examples: Many people want to save money they spend on gas by buying fuel-efficient cars. Using a calculator to solve math problems saves time and stress involved with doing the math in your head. You can save water by turning off the sink while brushing your teeth.
  • Used in a sentence: I think our country will save money on energy if we switch to solar power. 

Save can also mean to keep something for later. For example, many people save money for a special thing they want to buy or so they have some available in case of an emergency. The word savings is used to refer to money saved for future need.

  • Real-life examples: People often save leftover food to eat later rather than throw it away. Some people save food, water, and other supplies in case of emergencies. Hospitals may save emergency supplies of blood and medicine so they don’t run out.
  • Used in a sentence: I am saving my funniest jokes for the talent show. 

Where does save come from?

The first records of save come from around 1175. It ultimately comes from the Late Latin salvāre, meaning “to save.”

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to save?

  • saving (noun, present tense verb)
  • savable (adjective)
  • saveable (adjective)
  • saver (noun)
  • unsaved (adjective)

What are some synonyms for save?

What are some words that share a root or word element with save

What are some words that often get used in discussing save?

How is save used in real life?

Save is a very common word that often means to rescue or to lessen the use of something.

Try using save!

True or False?

If a new stove saves you time while cooking, it lowers the amount of time you spend cooking.

How to use save in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for save (1 of 2)

/ (seɪv) /

sport the act of saving a goal
computing an instruction to write information from the memory onto a tape or disk

Derived forms of save

savable or saveable, adjectivesavableness or saveableness, nounsaver, noun

Word Origin for save

C13: from Old French salver, via Late Latin from Latin salvus safe

British Dictionary definitions for save (2 of 2)

/ (seɪv) archaic, or literary /

Also: saving (often foll by for) with the exception of
but; except

Word Origin for save

C13 sauf, from Old French, from Latin salvō, from salvus safe
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with save


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.