Definition of savagery in US English:



  • 1The quality of being fierce or cruel.

    ‘a crime of the utmost savagery’
    ‘she was treated with particular savagery by cartoonists’
    • ‘At last people suspected of savagery in Nazi-occupied Europe faced prosecution in British courts.’
    • ‘Intercultural struggles, with their unbridled savagery, are the great nightmare of the next century. "’
    • ‘Now these mosques have either been destroyed by savagery of times or are under personal control of people who later occupied them.’
    • ‘By its nature the submarine, unable to rescue its victims, brought a new savagery to a hitherto not very bloody form of war.’
    • ‘Her heart torn from her chest, the townspeople believe that the only thing capable of such savagery is a wolf or a bear.’
    • ‘However, inborn savagery is not a Colombian trait.’
    • ‘The news of this savagery spread through the island.’
    • ‘There were many revolts which were put down with incredible savagery.’
    • ‘Then the murder of two Israeli boys stoned to death in what one headline called a crime of " biblical savagery ".’
    • ‘The dog represented an extension, even a vanguard, of man's savagery.’
    • ‘I do my best to forgive him for savagery.’
    • ‘Today's car bomb in Baghdad outside the Jordanian embassy which killed 11 people is obviously disturbing in its savagery.’
    • ‘Christopher Tookey said the whole Protestant community was implicated in the gang's savagery.’
    • ‘In its savagery, the massacre stages the white supremacist fantasy of genocide.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The savagery of some of these murders is worth a moment's pause.’
    • ‘The savagery of the attack on Tal Afar even prompted a muted protest from neighbouring Turkey.’
    • ‘The very means by which the dictator had clung to power, his legendary savagery, had destroyed his internal support.’
    • ‘There was intense savagery in the putting down of the Cathars.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After a century of "noble savage" idealization, the peasantry's violence during the French Revolution had reawakened fears of more "ignoble" savagery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Communication, except the more primitive kinds and the printed word were lost as survivors slipped backward toward 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Black people have long labored under the stigma of savagery.’
    • ‘Will we retreat to leave the ungrateful natives to their savagery, having spurned the gifts of our civilisation?’
    • ‘Thus Darwin may have employed the word "savagery" to describe the cultural level of non-Europeans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the male mythical imagination women are repeatedly associated with nature rather than culture, savagery rather than civilization, the wild rather than the tame.’
    • ‘When thus arranged, they reveal with some degree of certainty the entire range of human progress from savagery to civilization.’
    • ‘White Americans began imagining African Americans as bestial examples of Africa's primitive savagery within the nation's borders.’
    • ‘How then does Churchward account for the archaeologists ' theory that man has struggled up from savagery to his present level?’
    • ‘The pig symbolised savagery, anarchy and destruction.’