Origin of saving

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at save1, -ing2, -ing1
Related formssav·ing·ly, adverbnon·sav·ing, adjectiveun·sav·ing, adjectiveun·sav·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for saving

2. restoring, redemptory, qualifying.



verb (used with object), saved, sav·ing.

to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss: to save someone from drowning.
to keep safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve: God save the king.
to keep from being lost: to save the game.
to avoid the spending, consumption, or waste of: to save fuel.
to keep, as for reuse: to save leftovers for tomorrow's dinner.
to set aside, reserve, or lay by: to save money.
to treat carefully in order to reduce wear, fatigue, etc.: to save one's eyes by reading under proper light.
to prevent the occurrence, use, or necessity of; obviate: to come early in order to save waiting.
Theology. to deliver from the power and consequences of sin.
Computers. to copy (a file) from RAM onto a disk or other storage medium.
Sports. to stop (a ball or puck) from entering one's goal.

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

to lay up money as the result of economy or thrift.
to be economical in expenditure.
to preserve something from harm, injury, loss, etc.
to admit of being kept without spoiling, as food.


an act or instance of saving, especially in sports.
Baseball. a statistical credit given a relief pitcher for preserving a team's victory by holding its lead in a game.

Origin of save

1175–1225; Middle English sa(u)ven < Old French sauver < Late Latin salvāre to save; see safe
Related formssav·a·ble, save·a·ble, adjectivesav·a·ble·ness, save·a·ble·ness, nounsav·er, nounun·sav·a·ble, adjectiveun·save·a·ble, adjectiveun·saved, adjective

Synonyms for save

1. salvage. 6. store up, husband. 12. economize, hoard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for saving

Contemporary Examples of saving

Historical Examples of saving

British Dictionary definitions for saving



tending to save or preserve
redeeming or compensating (esp in the phrase saving grace)
thrifty or economical
law denoting or relating to an exception or reservationa saving clause in an agreement


preservation or redemption, esp from loss or danger
economy or avoidance of waste
reduction in cost or expenditurea saving of 100 dollars
anything saved
(plural) money saved for future use
law an exception or reservation


with the exception of


Derived Formssavingly, adverb




(tr) to rescue, preserve, or guard (a person or thing) from danger or harm
to avoid the spending, waste, or loss of (money, possessions, etc)
(tr) to deliver from sin; redeem
(often foll by up) to set aside or reserve (money, goods, etc) for future use
(tr) to treat with care so as to avoid or lessen wear or degenerationuse a good light to save your eyes
(tr) to prevent the necessity for; obviate the trouble ofgood work now will save future revision
(tr) sport to prevent (a goal) by stopping (a struck ball or puck)
(intr) mainly US (of food) to admit of preservation; keep


sport the act of saving a goal
computing an instruction to write information from the memory onto a tape or disk
Derived Formssavable or saveable, adjectivesavableness or saveableness, nounsaver, noun

Word Origin for save

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




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

Word Origin and History for saving

late 14c., from safe (adj.); see save (prep.).



c.1200, "to deliver from some danger; rescue from peril, bring to safety," also "prevent the death of;" also theological, "to deliver from sin or its consequences; admit to eternal life; gain salvation," from Old French sauver "keep (safe), protect, redeem," from Late Latin salvare "make safe, secure," from Latin salvus "safe" (see safe (adj.)). From c.1300 as "reserve for future use, hold back, store up instead of spending;" hence "keep possession of" (late 14c.).

Save face (1898) first was used among the British community in China and is said to be from Chinese; it has not been found in Chinese, but tiu lien "to lose face" does occur. To not (do something) to save one's life is recorded from 1848. To save (one's) breath "cease talking or arguing" is from 1926.



in the sports sense of "act of preventing opponent from scoring," 1890, from save (v.).



"except," early 14c., from adjective save, which also was an early variant of safe (adj.), paralleling evolution in Old French sauf "safe," prepositional use of the adjective, in phrases such as saulve l'honneur "save (our) honor;" also a use in Latin (salva lege, etc.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with saving


In addition to the idioms beginning with save

  • saved by the bell
  • save face
  • save for a rainy day
  • save one's bacon
  • save one's breath
  • save the day
  • save up

also see:

  • penny saved is a penny earned
  • rainy day, save for a
  • scrimp and save
  • to save one's life
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.