Definition of savagery in US English:


nounPlural savageries

  • 1The quality of being fierce or cruel.

    ‘a crime of the utmost savagery’
    ‘she was treated with particular savagery by cartoonists’
    • ‘The news of this savagery spread through the island.’
    • ‘Her heart torn from her chest, the townspeople believe that the only thing capable of such savagery is a wolf or a bear.’
    • ‘The savagery of the attack on Tal Afar even prompted a muted protest from neighbouring Turkey.’
    • ‘However, inborn savagery is not a Colombian trait.’
    • ‘By its nature the submarine, unable to rescue its victims, brought a new savagery to a hitherto not very bloody form of war.’
    • ‘The dog represented an extension, even a vanguard, of man's savagery.’
    • ‘Intercultural struggles, with their unbridled savagery, are the great nightmare of the next century. "’
    • ‘I do my best to forgive him for savagery.’
    • ‘There were many revolts which were put down with incredible savagery.’
    • ‘At last people suspected of savagery in Nazi-occupied Europe faced prosecution in British courts.’
    • ‘The savagery of some of these murders is worth a moment's pause.’
    • ‘The very means by which the dictator had clung to power, his legendary savagery, had destroyed his internal support.’
    • ‘Christopher Tookey said the whole Protestant community was implicated in the gang's savagery.’
    • ‘Today's car bomb in Baghdad outside the Jordanian embassy which killed 11 people is obviously disturbing in its savagery.’
    • ‘Now these mosques have either been destroyed by savagery of times or are under personal control of people who later occupied them.’
    • ‘There was intense savagery in the putting down of the Cathars.’
    • ‘In its savagery, the massacre stages the white supremacist fantasy of genocide.’
    • ‘Then the murder of two Israeli boys stoned to death in what one headline called a crime of " biblical savagery ".’
    • ‘We are never more than a single generation away from total savagery.’
    • ‘Throughout Eastern Europe, the end of WWII merely signified an exchange of tyrannies, with communist brutality rising to supersede Nazi savagery.’
    brutality, ferocity, fierceness, violence, viciousness, cruelty, sadism, barbarity, barbarousness, murderousness, bloodthirstiness, brutishness, mercilessness, ruthlessness, pitilessness, inhumanity, heartlessness
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  • 2(chiefly in historical or literary contexts) the condition of being primitive or uncivilized.

    ‘without adult society, the children descend into savagery’
    ‘the progress of civilization over savagery’
    • ‘Even Lord of the Flies - which I love as a metaphor for many, many things, like the savagery of humanity - treats the children more as symbolic figures.’
    • ‘After a century of "noble savage" idealization, the peasantry's violence during the French Revolution had reawakened fears of more "ignoble" savagery.’
    • ‘Its story of a group of schoolboys stranded on a desert island after an aeroplane crash who descend into savagery still has the power to shock and enthral.’
    • ‘Will we retreat to leave the ungrateful natives to their savagery, having spurned the gifts of our civilisation?’
    • ‘Cultural associations between black and white, sin and purity, savagery and civilization, all conspired to fix subsaharan Africans into a symbolic category in polar opposition to lighter-skinned northwest Europeans.’
    • ‘In the male mythical imagination women are repeatedly associated with nature rather than culture, savagery rather than civilization, the wild rather than the tame.’
    • ‘Soon after he enters the New World, the European sheds the skin of civilization, passes through a temporary condition of savagery, and finally appears as a completely new creature.’
    • ‘We have the half-breed, the result of the union between the Indian, the representative of savagery, and the white man, the representative of civilization.’
    • ‘The pig symbolised savagery, anarchy and destruction.’
    • ‘White Americans began imagining African Americans as bestial examples of Africa's primitive savagery within the nation's borders.’
    • ‘Eastman's depiction certainly seeks to contradict one prominent strain of thought at the end of the nineteenth century regarding the irredeemable savagery of American Indians, including, notably, Indian children.’
    • ‘In the case of Larry Talbot and his hirsute pals, these films suggested that only a thin line kept us from reverting to a state of animalistic savagery.’
    • ‘When thus arranged, they reveal with some degree of certainty the entire range of human progress from savagery to civilization.’
    • ‘How then does Churchward account for the archaeologists ' theory that man has struggled up from savagery to his present level?’
    • ‘The very simplicity of his nakedness, the apparent savagery of it, the barbarian disregard for the niceties of twentieth century warfare, made him the number one target for German sharpshooters.’
    • ‘Naturally these societies degenerate into savagery.’
    • ‘Communication, except the more primitive kinds and the printed word were lost as survivors slipped backward toward savagery.’
    • ‘Black people have long labored under the stigma of savagery.’
    • ‘We are well on the return path to savagery, to a society void of values, a veritable jungle in which only the strong survive and thrive.’
    • ‘Thus Darwin may have employed the word "savagery" to describe the cultural level of non-Europeans.’