Main definitions of save in English

: save1save2



  • 1Keep safe or rescue (someone or something) from harm or danger.

    ‘they brought him in to help save the club from bankruptcy’
    • ‘She is thereafter the traditional damsel in distress and it would appear that her ‘femaleness’ is what prevents her from saving herself.’
    • ‘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 falls upon the shoulders of Ryan and Alex to save the city and rescue Ryan's girlfriend.’
    • ‘This slowed progress and construction and probably helped save southern brownstones for posterity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Prince makes it his business to protect the captain as he thinks he will save his people from colonial rule.’
    • ‘He had put himself in danger to save her in Bulgaria.’
    • ‘More than 130 yachtsmen were saved in a dramatic combined rescue operation costing more than half a million pounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the end, only the intervention of an anonymous third party saved the man from harm at the hands of the impassioned crowd.’
    • ‘Along the way, he stops to save a damsel in distress, Megara.’
    • ‘Finally, we were saved by a rescue team and they were nice enough to give us a new motor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of his Ethiopian concubines saves him from a forest fire by carrying his huge bulk on her back.’
    • ‘At least rescue teams should be mounted to save the turtles.’
    • ‘Then, when something goes amiss on Christmas Eve, he gets an opportunity to rescue Santa and save the holiday.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 1.1Prevent (someone) from dying.
      ‘the doctors did everything they could to save him’
      • ‘Then, when he had been inches from death, his mother had saved him.’
      • ‘But if God couldn't save Momma, how do you think he can rescue 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.’
      • ‘Joaquin immediately made an emergency call, begging medics to help save his brother.’
      • ‘She confesses that part of the reason the farm spares the cantankerous Wilbur is because she saved him when he was small.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Jay meets Peaches when she saves a dying man involved in a traffic accident.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She thanked him over and over again for putting himself in danger to save her.’
      • ‘He tried desperately to save her but the blood just stopped.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will save him, Hunter said to himself.’
      • ‘But why aren't they able to save every dying person?’
      • ‘The war story arc takes a slight breather as they work to save the dying man.’
      • ‘To save a dying person is his life's work, his obsession.’
      • ‘I had convinced myself I could have saved her and only my own weakness had prevented it.’
    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.’
      • ‘It will not save my daughters life but it will save her soul.’
      • ‘Every soul can be saved, and everyone is capable of redemption.’
      • ‘Early missionaries had been ordained ministers eager to save souls.’
      • ‘I don't buy into it, mainly because I don't believe I have a soul to be saved.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Smethurst returned convinced that thousands of souls could be saved if others went on similar journeys.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Evangelical Christians have traditionally taught that everyone who wants to be saved must accept Jesus Christ as saviour.’
      • ‘Whoever converts a sinner from error saves his soul from damnation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘The idea came to me that I ought to be a preacher and help to save souls.’
      • ‘At an execution, a defendant in the Puritan colonies was expected to confess, and thus to save his soul.’
      • ‘If God did exist, why would he save your pathetic undeserving soul?’
      • ‘It was then the task of the converted to go amongst other sinners, wherever they might be found, and crusade to save souls.’
      • ‘He told her that he believed that you can only be saved through Jesus Christ.’
    3. 1.3Keep (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’
    • ‘When the mine stopped production Cottrell had saved enough to make a down payment of £45 for a farming block.’
    • ‘The big firms were perceived as either corrupt or incompetent - and certainly not interested in helping the common man save a few bucks.’
    • ‘The priority for my parents was to save money - not to spend it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He lived homeless in Los Angeles for two years before saving enough money to rent a studio.’
    • ‘She says that she's going to have to save up for quite a while to pay for her dream wedding.’
    • ‘Luckily, the father had saved some money which the family would be able to live off of for about a year.’
    • ‘My daughter has started her first part-time job, working in a grocery store, so she can save enough money to buy a car.’
    • ‘Tokyo hopes that its low interest rates make it less attractive to save money, and easier to borrow money for spending.’
    • ‘The advisors will be advising students to draw their entitlement each week but to save some money regularly to meet unexpected expenses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Until 1988 there was no other way for Andrew and millions of others to save up for a pension.’
    • ‘That same year, my mom saved enough money to rent an apartment again.’
    • ‘It'd be cool to be able to save up for something nice, like a nice ride - something I could be proud of.’
    • ‘By September 1889, debt-free and resolved to save money for the future, Boyle proposed marriage for the first time in his life.’
    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. 2.1Avoid 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Reducing the number of add-ons that are requested could save resources spent on laboratory personnel that provide this service.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Not only it will save their time, it will also save money spent on hiring the bag-checkers.’
      • ‘A spokesperson said that the policy would have little adverse financial effect, as it would save money otherwise spent on recruiting new staff.’
      • ‘Add the organic matter from your own compost bin to save money and avoid being a drain on the nation's landfills.’
      • ‘By following some easy energy-saving tips, you can save money on your power bills to spend on summer fun.’
      • ‘In addition to saving money, families using solar ovens no longer spend hours searching for firewood.’
      • ‘Insulation saves money and our nation's limited energy resources.’
      • ‘The service is free and it saves time at home, which is always a bonus in this busy world.’
      • ‘You'll save money and avoid those spontaneous purchases at the mall.’
      • ‘The 700 business processes done in India save the company $340 million a year, he says.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Whether it's for work-related tasks or personal matters, being well-organized helps save time and prevent mishaps.’
      • ‘The tool is easy to use and in the end, will spare you aggravation and save you precious time.’
      • ‘In addition to shared resources and housing costs, both families save money on transportation because neither owns a car.’
      • ‘I get my food delivered from supermarkets to save time.’
      • ‘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
    2. 2.2Preserve (something) by not expending or using it.
      ‘save your strength till later’
      • ‘I must agree in order to save the rest of my strength.’
      • ‘He saves his arm strength and uses his horse's speed and power to inflict the deep wounds and deathblows.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A door creaked and I managed to elbow Audrey, using the ounce of strength I had saved up for the most critical moment.’
    3. 2.3North 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’
    • ‘Similarly, if the web site contains text, the text is downloaded and saved to your computer.’
    • ‘Client data would normally be saved onto corporate servers rather than desktops but the company is refusing to take any chances.’
    • ‘If you are trying to download some file, it will be automatically saved to your desktop.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4Avoid, 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’
    • ‘Avoiding those blunders can save you a lot of grief.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Thousands of families would have been saved their tears, their sorrow and the grief they are experiencing this very moment.’
    • ‘I hope that these rules can save you my heartache and catapult you to the top of the leaderboard!’
    • ‘This can save you trouble, prevent costly repairs and prolong the life of your roof.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Little white lies could save someone's feelings and prevent them from having to face bitter truths.’
    • ‘She walked down the alley that saved her a 10-minute walk but then stopped halfway down.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You'd be surprised how many points are saved and thrown away in the latter stage of the game.’
    1. 5.1(of a goalkeeper in soccer and hockey) stop (a shot) from entering the goal.
      • ‘Paul Wright was unfortunate that his downward header was saved brilliantly by McCulloch.’
      • ‘But his shot was saved by the keeper.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Brookes keeper performs an acrobatic save to keep Oxford off the score sheet in what was a disappointing game for the home team’
    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.

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


  • save one's breath

    • [often in imperative]Not bother to say something because it is pointless.

      • ‘These worthy protesters could have saved their breath.’
      • ‘I may as well have saved my breath, as everyone is acting like it's next month.’
      • ‘After months of writing to my elected officials I feel a whole lot better supporting this project and saving my breath.’
      • ‘You're better saving your breath for the wedding speech because right now I'm not listening to any of your words!’
  • save the day (or situation)

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In horror films, girls run away screaming and some guy comes in and saves the day.’
      • ‘What saves the day, as always, are some haunting performances that transcend the play's problems.’
      • ‘The quick intervention in the supply of farm inputs by Government after the dismal performance by the private sector has saved the situation.’
      • ‘You're the one who swooped in and saved the day.’
      • ‘Foreign students did indeed save the situation; they provided 15 per cent of university revenues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They say that only a strong political will and harsh administrative steps can save the situation from deteriorating further.’
      • ‘It is highly unlikely that pro-marriage reforms will save the day.’
      • ‘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.’
  • save face

    • Avoid humiliation.

      ‘allowing the guerrillas to save face and disarm’
      • ‘As Tongans themselves point out, Tonga is what anthropologists call a shame culture, where personal and family image counts for much and saving face is of paramount importance.’
      • ‘It is clear that the way people react in the early stages of a breaking scandal will often mean the difference between saving face and losing all credibility.’
      • ‘As is typical with these sorts of arrangements, it only takes one slip to start an avalanche, coincidence always plays into the hands of the betrayed, and the most important thing above all is saving face.’
      • ‘In tribally run district courts and within families, decisions that rule women's lives are a matter of obedience, convention and saving face.’
      • ‘One day an estranged celebrity couple is getting along; the next day it's an all-out war over custody, property or saving face.’
      • ‘Reluctantly, they'll find a way of saving face while admitting that they're not quite up to where I want them to be.’
      • ‘That way, it would save face for me and avoid any further conflicts with Tinka and Victor.’
      • ‘It was a matter of saving face, not of saving games.’
      • ‘The win yesterday was very much a case of two old professionals doing what they do best and saving face for the national team.’
      • ‘The Foyle Assembly member said: ‘If this is about saving face, then people will be sceptical.’’
  • save someone's face

    • Enable someone to avoid humiliation.

      ‘he might be pretending to help her to save his face in front of Katarina’
      • ‘And under no circumstances will you ask her to wrap her own presents the night before Christmas in order to save your face in front of her parents.’
      • ‘So is it better to tell and hurt or lie to save their face?’
      • ‘She said Parnell went through with the wedding: ‘To save my face and stop me looking like a complete idiot.’’
      • ‘He could have saved his face, but he had to let it out.’
      • ‘I say to him that he should save his face and vote against this bill.’
      • ‘Yet even as he spoke he was conscious that this verbal attempt to save his face did him no better service than his fencing.’
      • ‘Or you could just withdraw all the actions, but though it'll save your face from the drip-drip of bad publicity, it'll still make you look like a bunch of bungle-bounces.’
      • ‘Here is a simple three-step program to save your face.’
  • 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But sometimes, regardless of what players say in the press, they don't want to save the manager's skin.’
      • ‘They used every trick in the manual to portray him as a corporate fat cat who cared only about saving his 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?’
      • ‘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 could easily be stringing them a yarn, hoping to save his own neck.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘I was going to write loads on this topic but Sarah saved me the bother.’
      • ‘He took down the dossier, saving me the trouble of initiating a court action.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Letting it do the record-keeping saves you the trouble of entering information over and over again.’
      • ‘It also saves you the trouble of trimming, fertilising and watering periodically.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We welcome submissions through e-mail because that saves us the bother of retyping the selected manuscripts.’
      • ‘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.’


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


conjunction & preposition

formal, literary
  • Except; other than.

    ‘no one needed to know save herself’
    ‘the kitchen was empty save for Boris’


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.