Main definitions of save in English

: save1save2



[with object]
  • 1Keep safe or rescue (someone or something) from harm or danger.

    ‘they brought him in to help save the club from bankruptcy’
    • ‘My husband assures me that my moves will probably save me from any danger, so intimidating, he says, is the sight of me doing the African dance.’
    • ‘She is thereafter the traditional damsel in distress and it would appear that her ‘femaleness’ is what prevents her from saving herself.’
    • ‘Along the way, he stops to save a damsel in distress, Megara.’
    • ‘More than 130 yachtsmen were saved in a dramatic combined rescue operation costing more than half a million pounds.’
    • ‘Finally, we were saved by a rescue team and they were nice enough to give us a new motor.’
    • ‘She let out a terrified scream and threw herself at the crowd of toddlers, her only thought to save them from danger.’
    • ‘Many women believe that it is their duty to accept, tolerate and excuse conditions and experiences that place them in danger so they can save a relationship.’
    • ‘It's a way for all of us to help save the California Coast.’
    • ‘All I know is that, somehow, he knew I was in danger and saved me from being crushed under a falling chandalier.’
    • ‘The children's flick will feature Jackie as a pirate ghost who hobnobs with a little boy and his friends to save their town from danger.’
    • ‘In the end, only the intervention of an anonymous third party saved the man from harm at the hands of the impassioned crowd.’
    • ‘They were asked to come up with designs that not only help save the planet but do it affordably, while also addressing the social needs of the inhabitants.’
    • ‘The Prince makes it his business to protect the captain as he thinks he will save his people from colonial rule.’
    • ‘This slowed progress and construction and probably helped save southern brownstones for posterity.’
    • ‘Then, when something goes amiss on Christmas Eve, he gets an opportunity to rescue Santa and save the holiday.’
    • ‘One of his Ethiopian concubines saves him from a forest fire by carrying his huge bulk on her back.’
    • ‘It falls upon the shoulders of Ryan and Alex to save the city and rescue Ryan's girlfriend.’
    • ‘At least rescue teams should be mounted to save the turtles.’
    • ‘At first, it looks like a trip into sword and sorcery territory when our heroes end up in a forest just in time to save a fair maiden from an evil wizard.’
    • ‘He had put himself in danger to save her in Bulgaria.’
    rescue, come to someone's rescue, save someone's life, come to someone's aid
    preserve, keep safe, keep, protect, safeguard, guard, conserve
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Prevent (someone) from dying.
      ‘the doctors did everything they could to save him’
      • ‘If some great pinnacle of ice was to come crashing down on me, why would God put out a hand and stop it just to save me?’
      • ‘The director-general of health services in Haryana, said the only way to save unborn daughters is by putting the fear of law into the minds of doctors.’
      • ‘She confesses that part of the reason the farm spares the cantankerous Wilbur is because she saved him when he was small.’
      • ‘She's still fighting for her life in there behind me, and we're going to do everything in our power to help save her.’
      • ‘When childbirth went wrong, the doctor's duty was to save the mother, and it was to improve maternal health that ante-natal care first grew in significance.’
      • ‘To save a dying person is his life's work, his obsession.’
      • ‘Joaquin immediately made an emergency call, begging medics to help save his brother.’
      • ‘But why aren't they able to save every dying person?’
      • ‘I had convinced myself I could have saved her and only my own weakness had prevented it.’
      • ‘Jay meets Peaches when she saves a dying man involved in a traffic accident.’
      • ‘I will save him, Hunter said to himself.’
      • ‘Then, when he had been inches from death, his mother had saved him.’
      • ‘She thanked him over and over again for putting himself in danger to save her.’
      • ‘The war story arc takes a slight breather as they work to save the dying man.’
      • ‘But if God couldn't save Momma, how do you think he can rescue me?’
      • ‘He tried desperately to save her but the blood just stopped.’
    2. 1.2 (in Christian use) preserve (a person's soul) from damnation.
      ‘church ladies approach me trying to save my soul’
      • ‘He believed that it was impossible to know whose souls would ultimately be saved, and that it was entirely possible for those of the clergy and the Pope not to be among them.’
      • ‘The idea came to me that I ought to be a preacher and help to save souls.’
      • ‘Every soul can be saved, and everyone is capable of redemption.’
      • ‘Early missionaries had been ordained ministers eager to save souls.’
      • ‘My favourite reactions I received were of the religious type, attempting to open my eyes to a Godly world and save my soul from damnation.’
      • ‘He knew he was dying and that soon his wife, Myra, would once again be wearing her widow's weeds and that his children and grandchildren would be praying for his soul to be saved.’
      • ‘In effect, the letter explains that, despite the fact that she would lose her friends and any respect due to her because of her action, she converted because it was the only thing she could do to save her soul.’
      • ‘Whoever converts a sinner from error saves his soul from damnation.’
      • ‘It will not save my daughters life but it will save her soul.’
      • ‘Evangelical Christians have traditionally taught that everyone who wants to be saved must accept Jesus Christ as saviour.’
      • ‘The preacher told him that a man had to believe that Christ was this sacrifice for his sins, and to repent and ask God to save his soul.’
      • ‘It was then the task of the converted to go amongst other sinners, wherever they might be found, and crusade to save souls.’
      • ‘At an execution, a defendant in the Puritan colonies was expected to confess, and thus to save his soul.’
      • ‘The fear of going to Hell was very real and people were told that only the Catholic Church could save your soul so that you could go to Heaven.’
      • ‘If God did exist, why would he save your pathetic undeserving soul?’
      • ‘Luther's main complaint against the Catholic Church was that it was supporting a system that left sinners in sin - and this was the institution that was meant to save lost souls!’
      • ‘He told her that he believed that you can only be saved through Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘The state of knowledge was not a priority when there were fundamental issues of church doctrine to be discussed and souls to be saved from the pernicious influence of Protestantism.’
      • ‘I don't buy into it, mainly because I don't believe I have a soul to be saved.’
      • ‘Smethurst returned convinced that thousands of souls could be saved if others went on similar journeys.’
    3. 1.3 Keep (someone) in health (used in exclamations and formulaic expressions)
      ‘God save the Queen’
  • 2Keep and store up (something, especially money) for future use.

    ‘she had never been able to save much from her salary’
    no object ‘you can save up for retirement in a number of ways’
    • ‘The advisors will be advising students to draw their entitlement each week but to save some money regularly to meet unexpected expenses.’
    • ‘That same year, my mom saved enough money to rent an apartment again.’
    • ‘Luckily, the father had saved some money which the family would be able to live off of for about a year.’
    • ‘The usual path was to begin work in the furnaces or mines, save a little money, and start a small grocery store selling vegetables often grown in their own gardens.’
    • ‘She says that she's going to have to save up for quite a while to pay for her dream wedding.’
    • ‘Well, in the near future I want to save up some money and then change to working part-time so I can do an interior design course through correspondence.’
    • ‘When the mine stopped production Cottrell had saved enough to make a down payment of £45 for a farming block.’
    • ‘My daughter has started her first part-time job, working in a grocery store, so she can save enough money to buy a car.’
    • ‘By September 1889, debt-free and resolved to save money for the future, Boyle proposed marriage for the first time in his life.’
    • ‘The priority for my parents was to save money - not to spend it.’
    • ‘It'd be cool to be able to save up for something nice, like a nice ride - something I could be proud of.’
    • ‘Tokyo hopes that its low interest rates make it less attractive to save money, and easier to borrow money for spending.’
    • ‘He lived homeless in Los Angeles for two years before saving enough money to rent a studio.’
    • ‘Whether you are frugal by choice or by necessity, here are some tips for saving money when money is very tight.’
    • ‘He had saved money and paid a large deposit on a house.’
    • ‘If we had rented during those first five years of marriage, we would never have been able to save enough money to make that purchase.’
    • ‘The big firms were perceived as either corrupt or incompetent - and certainly not interested in helping the common man save a few bucks.’
    • ‘As the couple made plans for the wedding, each had to be specific about his or her financial situation in order to save enough money for their glorious wedding.’
    • ‘I cannot save money for my or my children's future, and every month bankruptcy looms.’
    • ‘Until 1988 there was no other way for Andrew and millions of others to save up for a pension.’
    put aside, set aside, lay aside, put by, put to one side, lay by, keep, retain, reserve, keep in reserve, conserve, stockpile, store, hoard, save for a rainy day, keep for future use, put in a safe place
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Preserve (something) by not expending or using it.
      ‘save your strength till later’
      • ‘He saves his arm strength and uses his horse's speed and power to inflict the deep wounds and deathblows.’
      • ‘I must agree in order to save the rest of my strength.’
      • ‘A door creaked and I managed to elbow Audrey, using the ounce of strength I had saved up for the most critical moment.’
      • ‘To save one's own strength, to defend oneself by sleight of body while drawing from one's opponent all his strength: this is the art of Ju-jitsu.’
      • ‘Jill had half a mind to tell him this was irresponsible; however, she decided that it would be better if he saved what strength he has.’
      • ‘She saved all her strength to kiss him, before fainting.’
    2. 2.2in imperative save itNorth American informal Stop talking.
      ‘save it, Joey—I'm in big trouble now’
  • 3Computing
    Keep (data) by moving a copy to a storage location.

    ‘save the instructions to a new file’
    • ‘Choose between bitmap or JPEG file formats when saving screenshots to the hard drive.’
    • ‘Very few end users want to take the time or effort to decide which files to delete, so they save everything.’
    • ‘Client data would normally be saved onto corporate servers rather than desktops but the company is refusing to take any chances.’
    • ‘Similarly, if the web site contains text, the text is downloaded and saved to your computer.’
    • ‘If you are trying to download some file, it will be automatically saved to your desktop.’
  • 4Avoid the need to use up or spend (money, time, or other resources)

    ‘save £20 on a new camcorder’
    with two objects ‘an efficient dishwasher would save them one year and three months at the sink’
    • ‘Why not put in some overtime at the office and find the company a way to save money, increase efficiency, or improve on a product?’
    • ‘A spokesperson said that the policy would have little adverse financial effect, as it would save money otherwise spent on recruiting new staff.’
    • ‘In addition to shared resources and housing costs, both families save money on transportation because neither owns a car.’
    • ‘The tool is easy to use and in the end, will spare you aggravation and save you precious time.’
    • ‘The service is free and it saves time at home, which is always a bonus in this busy world.’
    • ‘By following some easy energy-saving tips, you can save money on your power bills to spend on summer fun.’
    • ‘You'll save money and avoid those spontaneous purchases at the mall.’
    • ‘In addition to saving money, families using solar ovens no longer spend hours searching for firewood.’
    • ‘This reduces development times, makes our business more efficient, and ultimately saves the client money.’
    • ‘He said he was going to walk the rest of the way home, save the money he'd spend on a bus fee for something else.’
    • ‘Whether it's for work-related tasks or personal matters, being well-organized helps save time and prevent mishaps.’
    • ‘Insulation saves money and our nation's limited energy resources.’
    • ‘I get my food delivered from supermarkets to save time.’
    • ‘Although Walton was notoriously cheap, he could be convinced to spend money on things that would save the company money in the long run and allow it to grow.’
    • ‘Add the organic matter from your own compost bin to save money and avoid being a drain on the nation's landfills.’
    • ‘The 700 business processes done in India save the company $340 million a year, he says.’
    • ‘Not only it will save their time, it will also save money spent on hiring the bag-checkers.’
    • ‘Reducing the number of add-ons that are requested could save resources spent on laboratory personnel that provide this service.’
    • ‘Learn to save money on everyday purchases by shopping around, and avoid impulse buying.’
    • ‘But we could easily save money, diverting resources to more innovative management practices.’
    economize, be economical, be more economical, make economies, scrimp, scrimp and scrape
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 Avoid, lessen, or guard against.
      ‘this approach saves wear and tear on the books’
      with two objects ‘the statement was made to save the government some embarrassment’
      • ‘Little white lies could save someone's feelings and prevent them from having to face bitter truths.’
      • ‘Avoiding those blunders can save you a lot of grief.’
      • ‘Thousands of families would have been saved their tears, their sorrow and the grief they are experiencing this very moment.’
      • ‘This can save you trouble, prevent costly repairs and prolong the life of your roof.’
      • ‘She walked down the alley that saved her a 10-minute walk but then stopped halfway down.’
      • ‘I hope that these rules can save you my heartache and catapult you to the top of the leaderboard!’
      • ‘It was regarded as an economy measure as it saved paying for visits to the dentist.’
      • ‘It also saved her family the daily washing machine wear and tear, increased water use and the chore of washing and drying nappies regularly.’
      • ‘I mean, if she knew she was bearing a son that would end up like that, why not kill him and save the people the trouble of suffering under his rule?’
      prevent, obviate, forestall, spare
      View synonyms
  • 5Prevent an opponent from scoring (a goal or point) in a game or from winning (the game)

    ‘the powerful German saved three match points’
    • ‘You'd be surprised how many points are saved and thrown away in the latter stage of the game.’
    • ‘The return of the rejuvenated opening bowlers quickly put paid to any lingering hopes the Cambridge side had of saving the game, removing two further batsmen.’
    • ‘The story is told of a goalkeeper who kept waving to his girlfriend in the grandstand every time he saved a goal.’
    1. 5.1 (of a goalkeeper in soccer and hockey) stop (a shot) from entering the goal.
      • ‘The keeper dives, and the shot gets saved, or it drops into the back of the net, the fans sigh or groan on cue, and the game goes on.’
      • ‘But his shot was saved by the keeper.’
      • ‘Rossiter's first attempt was well saved by goalkeeper Burke but the kicker stabbed home the rebound.’
      • ‘McDonald did have a chance for Villa but his shot was well saved by keeper Hardy.’
      • ‘Paul Wright was unfortunate that his downward header was saved brilliantly by McCulloch.’
    2. 5.2Baseball (of a relief pitcher) preserve (a winning position) gained by another pitcher.


  • 1(in soccer and hockey) an act of preventing an opponent's scoring.

    ‘the keeper made a great save’
    • ‘Three times Dudzinski made excellent saves to spare his side from further embarrassment, including one acrobatic tip over the bar.’
    • ‘The Liverpool goalie, jumping about like a human whirlwind, made two great saves and suddenly Liverpool were champions again.’
    • ‘Goalkeeper Michele Gademans also played an important role, making four solid saves to shutout the other team and ensure the Clan a spot at the National Championships.’
    • ‘The Brookes keeper performs an acrobatic save to keep Oxford off the score sheet in what was a disappointing game for the home team’
    • ‘Within 14 minutes third choice goalkeeper Mark Salter had not only made three tough saves but had also watched a near own goal by Anthony Doeh.’
    1. 1.1Baseball An instance of preserving a winning position gained by another pitcher.
      • ‘Augsburg rallied in the 7th inning, but the Scots held firm thanks to a save from Cormac Seely.’
  • 2Computing
    An act of saving data to a storage location.

    • ‘Just be sure to save frequently, and make multiple saves, in case the glitches strike.’
    • ‘Librarians are pestered every day to explain why the student's saves to disc ‘do not work.’’
    • ‘Game saves are saved to memory stick, and a 32MB stick is included with the console.’
    • ‘The save will appear to go through, but then attempting to load it later will cause an error.’
    • ‘Repeated saves and reloads in your editing package will produce the same image each time.’


  • save the day (or situation)

    • Find or provide a solution to a difficulty or disaster.

      • ‘They say that only a strong political will and harsh administrative steps can save the situation from deteriorating further.’
      • ‘The quick intervention in the supply of farm inputs by Government after the dismal performance by the private sector has saved the situation.’
      • ‘And if someday your organization is in the midst of an expensive dispute, and you provide the piece of electronic evidence that saves the day - well, that's priceless.’
      • ‘It is highly unlikely that pro-marriage reforms will save the day.’
      • ‘A strong president, a good president, would put his country before his pride and throw himself into saving the situation even if it meant admitting previous mistakes and ditching past policies and advisors.’
      • ‘What saves the day, as always, are some haunting performances that transcend the play's problems.’
      • ‘When my devout mother heard my story, she knew at once that prayer had saved the day; my anxious father wasn't so sure, not being a great believer himself.’
      • ‘In horror films, girls run away screaming and some guy comes in and saves the day.’
      • ‘Foreign students did indeed save the situation; they provided 15 per cent of university revenues.’
      • ‘You're the one who swooped in and saved the day.’
  • save someone's life

    • 1Prevent someone dying by taking specific action.

      ‘quick thinking undoubtedly saved the skipper's life’
      1. 1.1Used to indicate that the person in question is completely incompetent at a particular activity or task.
        ‘Adrian couldn't draw to save his life’
        • ‘There's no question he is a looker, but he can't sing to save his life.’
        • ‘I can't swim to save my life, but I'm really good at floating’
  • save someone's skin (or neck)

    • Rescue someone from danger or difficulty.

      • ‘Last week the manager himself revealed that it may well have been a crucial intervention by several senior players which saved his neck.’
      • ‘Never before can we remember a Secretary of State standing up in the Commons to attack the employees of his own department in order to save his own neck.’
      • ‘Wouldn't you rather be in a car that was designed from the ground up to be as safe as possible, rather than rely on raw physics to save your skin?’
      • ‘He can hold his breath for three minutes - a skill that probably saved his skin back in '96 when he got pinned under a waterfall on the Potomac River and nearly drowned.’
      • ‘He could easily be stringing them a yarn, hoping to save his own neck.’
      • ‘But sometimes, regardless of what players say in the press, they don't want to save the manager's skin.’
      • ‘I grew up in a rough part of Birmingham, and being able to explore drama and outdoor pursuits saved my neck.’
      • ‘There are times and places where blending in can save your skin, but day to day, why waste your precious time on the superficial when it doesn't make you happy?’
      • ‘Her moving speech not only saved the pig's skin, but also resulted in a countywide policy prohibiting the slaughter of animals raised at public schools.’
      • ‘They used every trick in the manual to portray him as a corporate fat cat who cared only about saving his skin.’
      rescue, come to someone's rescue, save someone's life, come to someone's aid
      View synonyms
  • save the tide

    • archaic Get in and out of port while the tide lasts.

  • save someone the trouble (or bother)

    • Avoid involving someone in useless or pointless effort.

      ‘write it down and save yourself the trouble of remembering’
      • ‘Other hotels (just a few though) are equipped with cinema rooms, saving you the trouble of getting out if you are too tired or if the unpredictable English weather is not at its best!’
      • ‘So, if that was the only reason you wanted to see the movie, I've just saved you the bother.’
      • ‘I'm glad he's shut out on a technicality because that saves me the trouble of resolving my own internal conflict.’
      • ‘We welcome submissions through e-mail because that saves us the bother of retyping the selected manuscripts.’
      • ‘The only reason for doing it is to save you the bother of saving and shopping.’
      • ‘So I offer the following condensations on the basis that they'll either inspire trips to the bookshop, or save you the bother.’
      • ‘He took down the dossier, saving me the trouble of initiating a court action.’
      • ‘It also saves you the trouble of trimming, fertilising and watering periodically.’
      • ‘I was going to write loads on this topic but Sarah saved me the bother.’
      • ‘Letting it do the record-keeping saves you the trouble of entering information over and over again.’


Middle English: from Old French sauver, from late Latin salvare, from Latin salvus ‘safe’. The noun dates from the late 19th century.




Main definitions of save in English

: save1save2


preposition & conjunction

literary, formal
  • Except; other than.

    ‘no one needed to know save herself’
    ‘the kitchen was empty save for Boris’
    • ‘Now, however, the vast lobby is eerily silent save a single discordant chord struck repeatedly by a piano tuner.’
    • ‘The grapes are grown in sun traps beneath the two impressive crags of Solutré and Vergisson which mark the end of the limestone plateau on which all burgundy save the Beaujolais is grown.’
    • ‘Her dark hair flowed over round shoulders onto a daring red dress, no ornamentations detracting from her natural beauty save a delicate gold locket.’
    • ‘It was pitch black save the few lights in the square.’
    • ‘The estate of Demosthenes' father was almost unique in containing, at his death, no real property save the family house.’
    • ‘But Hesselius' fear of all of the religions in Pennsylvania save his own appears a little irrational even by the standards of the day.’
    • ‘This accounted for every inhabitant of the town save one.’
    • ‘The festivities were paused - all were seated and silent save a single man, who stood at the floor's centre.’
    • ‘Raw materials and processes are simply drained of all value save monetary value.’
    • ‘The audience is seated in a theatre pitch black save the glow of six individual light boxes, each containing a fluoro rod, sitting on the floor of the stage.’
    • ‘Back came the speech with no word save a notation that one of the sentences ended with a preposition, and an indication where the error should be eliminated.’
    • ‘He made no sound save a slight hissing intake of breath.’
    • ‘But otherwise, what we say is subject to no regulation save our own sensibilities.’
    • ‘All in the party senior leadership save his closest guerilla comrades were purged.’


Middle English: from Old French sauf, sauve, from Latin salvo, salva (ablative singular of salvus ‘safe’), used in phrases such as salvo jure, salva innocentia ‘with no violation of right or innocence’.