Main definitions of save in English

: save1save2



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

    ‘she saved a boy from drowning’
    • ‘Then, when something goes amiss on Christmas Eve, he gets an opportunity to rescue Santa and save the holiday.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At least rescue teams should be mounted to save the turtles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the end, only the intervention of an anonymous third party saved the man from harm at the hands of the impassioned crowd.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She is thereafter the traditional damsel in distress and it would appear that her ‘femaleness’ is what prevents her from saving herself.’
    • ‘One of his Ethiopian concubines saves him from a forest fire by carrying his huge bulk on her back.’
    • ‘Along the way, he stops to save a damsel in distress, Megara.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It falls upon the shoulders of Ryan and Alex to save the city and rescue Ryan's girlfriend.’
    • ‘Finally, we were saved by a rescue team and they were nice enough to give us a new motor.’
    • ‘More than 130 yachtsmen were saved in a dramatic combined rescue operation costing more than half a million pounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She let out a terrified scream and threw herself at the crowd of toddlers, her only thought to save them from danger.’
    • ‘This slowed progress and construction and probably helped save southern brownstones for posterity.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘He tried desperately to save her but the blood just stopped.’
      • ‘Jay meets Peaches when she saves a dying man involved in a traffic accident.’
      • ‘She thanked him over and over again for putting himself in danger to save her.’
      • ‘I will save him, Hunter said to himself.’
      • ‘The war story arc takes a slight breather as they work to save the dying man.’
      • ‘But why aren't they able to save every dying person?’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I had convinced myself I could have saved her and only my own weakness had prevented it.’
      • ‘To save a dying person is his life's work, his obsession.’
      • ‘Then, when he had been inches from death, his mother had saved him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2(in Christian use) preserve (a person's soul) from damnation.
      • ‘The idea came to me that I ought to be a preacher and help to save souls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't buy into it, mainly because I don't believe I have a soul to be saved.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Evangelical Christians have traditionally taught that everyone who wants to be saved must accept Jesus Christ as saviour.’
      • ‘He told her that he believed that you can only be saved through Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At an execution, a defendant in the Puritan colonies was expected to confess, and thus to save his soul.’
      • ‘Every soul can be saved, and everyone is capable of redemption.’
      • ‘If God did exist, why would he save your pathetic undeserving 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.’
      • ‘It was then the task of the converted to go amongst other sinners, wherever they might be found, and crusade to save souls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It will not save my daughters life but it will save her soul.’
      • ‘Early missionaries had been ordained ministers eager to save souls.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
    • ‘I cannot save money for my or my children's future, and every month bankruptcy looms.’
    • ‘My daughter has started her first part-time job, working in a grocery store, so she can save enough money to buy a car.’
    • ‘Until 1988 there was no other way for Andrew and millions of others to save up for a pension.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The priority for my parents was to save money - not to spend it.’
    • ‘Whether you are frugal by choice or by necessity, here are some tips for saving money when money is very tight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The big firms were perceived as either corrupt or incompetent - and certainly not interested in helping the common man save a few bucks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had saved money and paid a large deposit on a house.’
    • ‘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 advisors will be advising students to draw their entitlement each week but to save some money regularly to meet unexpected expenses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘By September 1889, debt-free and resolved to save money for the future, Boyle proposed marriage for the first time in his life.’
    • ‘She says that she's going to have to save up for quite a while to pay for her dream wedding.’
    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. 2.1Computing Keep (data) by moving a copy to a storage location, especially from memory.
      ‘save it to a new file’
      • ‘Choose between bitmap or JPEG file formats when saving screenshots to the hard drive.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Very few end users want to take the time or effort to decide which files to delete, so they save everything.’
    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.’
      • ‘She saved all her strength to kiss him, before fainting.’
      • ‘A door creaked and I managed to elbow Audrey, using the ounce of strength I had saved up for the most critical moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 2.3North American informal [in imperative]Used to tell someone to stop talking.
      ‘save it, Joey—I'm in big trouble now’
  • 3Avoid 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’
    • ‘I get my food delivered from supermarkets to save time.’
    • ‘Whether it's for work-related tasks or personal matters, being well-organized helps save time and prevent mishaps.’
    • ‘In addition to shared resources and housing costs, both families save money on transportation because neither owns a car.’
    • ‘Reducing the number of add-ons that are requested could save resources spent on laboratory personnel that provide this service.’
    • ‘Insulation saves money and our nation's limited energy resources.’
    • ‘Learn to save money on everyday purchases by shopping around, and avoid impulse buying.’
    • ‘You'll save money and avoid those spontaneous purchases at the mall.’
    • ‘Not only it will save their time, it will also save money spent on hiring the bag-checkers.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘In addition to saving money, families using solar ovens no longer spend hours searching for firewood.’
    • ‘The service is free and it saves time at home, which is always a bonus in this busy world.’
    • ‘The 700 business processes done in India save the company $340 million a year, he says.’
    • ‘The tool is easy to use and in the end, will spare you aggravation and save you precious time.’
    • ‘By following some easy energy-saving tips, you can save money on your power bills to spend on summer fun.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Add the organic matter from your own compost bin to save money and avoid being a drain on the nation's landfills.’
    • ‘A spokesperson said that the policy would have little adverse financial effect, as it would save money otherwise spent on recruiting new staff.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This reduces development times, makes our business more efficient, and ultimately saves the client money.’
    • ‘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. 3.1Avoid, 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Little white lies could save someone's feelings and prevent them from having to face bitter truths.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It also saved her family the daily washing machine wear and tear, increased water use and the chore of washing and drying nappies regularly.’
      • ‘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!’
      prevent, obviate, forestall, spare
      View synonyms
  • 4Prevent 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. 4.1Baseball (of a relief pitcher in certain game situations) finish (a game) while preserving a winning position gained by another pitcher.
    2. 4.2(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.’
      • ‘Paul Wright was unfortunate that his downward header was saved brilliantly by McCulloch.’
      • ‘McDonald did have a chance for Villa but his shot was well saved by keeper Hardy.’
      • ‘Rossiter's first attempt was well saved by goalkeeper Burke but the kicker stabbed home the rebound.’


  • 1Baseball
    An instance of a relief pitcher saving a game.

    1. 1.1(in soccer and hockey) an act of preventing an opponent's scoring.
      ‘the keeper made a great save’
      • ‘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 Liverpool goalie, jumping about like a human whirlwind, made two great saves and suddenly Liverpool were champions again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Brookes keeper performs an acrobatic save to keep Oxford off the score sheet in what was a disappointing game for the home team’
      • ‘Three times Dudzinski made excellent saves to spare his side from further embarrassment, including one acrobatic tip over the bar.’
    2. 1.2Bridge
      another term for sacrifice
  • 2Computing
    An act of saving data to a storage location, usually the hard drive.

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


  • save one's breath

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

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

      ‘save your breath; I know all about it’
      • ‘So these guys were the smart ones, getting it printed on t-shirts to save their breath for running.’
      • ‘I could talk about the reason for a whole day but I am really tired of it and I'll save my breath here.’
      • ‘He should heed his own statement from today and save his breath until he has something substantive to say.’
      • ‘And all those Canadians who are constantly pleading with me to stay might as well save their breath.’
      • ‘He apologises for his behaviour but she tells him to save his breath.’
      • ‘The candidates, they suggested, should save their breath for the economy and health care.’
      • ‘Kendall should save her breath because she's not going to change her mind.’
      • ‘Fans go out their way to give their opinion on the calls, but they might as well save their breath.’
      • ‘It makes no difference what he says; for all the effect it has, he might as well save his breath.’
      • ‘He's telling her to save her breath and not tell him things he's already heard her say.’
  • save the day

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In horror films, girls run away screaming and some guy comes in and saves the day.’
      • ‘It is highly unlikely that pro-marriage reforms will save the day.’
      • ‘Foreign students did indeed save the situation; they provided 15 per cent of university revenues.’
      • ‘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.’
  • save (someone's) face

  • save someone's life

    • 1Prevent someone's dying by taking specific action.

      1. 1.1Be completely incompetent at doing something.
        ‘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 or hide)

    • 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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘But sometimes, regardless of what players say in the press, they don't want to save the manager's skin.’
      • ‘He could easily be stringing them a yarn, hoping 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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Last week the manager himself revealed that it may well have been a crucial intervention by several senior players which saved his neck.’
      rescue, come to someone's rescue, save someone's life, come to someone's aid
      View synonyms
  • save someone the trouble (or bother)

    • Avoid involving someone in useless or pointless effort.

      ‘write it down and save yourself the trouble of remembering’
      • ‘So I offer the following condensations on the basis that they'll either inspire trips to the bookshop, or save you the bother.’
      • ‘Letting it do the record-keeping saves you the trouble of entering information over and over again.’
      • ‘I'm glad he's shut out on a technicality because that saves me the trouble of resolving my own internal conflict.’
      • ‘So, if that was the only reason you wanted to see the movie, I've just saved you the bother.’
      • ‘The only reason for doing it is to save you the bother of saving and shopping.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘It also saves you the trouble of trimming, fertilising and watering periodically.’
      • ‘We welcome submissions through e-mail because that saves us the bother of retyping the selected manuscripts.’
      • ‘He took down the dossier, saving me the trouble of initiating a court action.’
      • ‘I was going to write loads on this topic but Sarah saved me the bother.’


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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But otherwise, what we say is subject to no regulation save our own sensibilities.’
    • ‘He made no sound save a slight hissing intake of breath.’
    • ‘The festivities were paused - all were seated and silent save a single man, who stood at the floor's centre.’
    • ‘But Hesselius' fear of all of the religions in Pennsylvania save his own appears a little irrational even by the standards of the day.’
    • ‘Raw materials and processes are simply drained of all value save monetary value.’
    • ‘Now, however, the vast lobby is eerily silent save a single discordant chord struck repeatedly by a piano tuner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All in the party senior leadership save his closest guerilla comrades were purged.’
    • ‘This accounted for every inhabitant of the town save one.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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.