Middle English Dictionary Entry

sāven v.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To afford or bring about safety; also, bring victory [1st quot.]; (b) to deliver (sb., a city, people, etc.) from some danger; rescue (sb. or sth.), bring to safety; -- also refl.; recover (a corpse from the battlefield); ~ from; (c) to give (sb.) relief at law, deliver from injustice; ~ from (of), deliver (sb.) from (fear, sorrow, wrongful judgment, censure, poverty, etc.); (d) to keep (sb. or sth.) safe; -- often in phrases of asseveration, greeting, benediction, etc.; (e) law ~ harmles, to relieve (sb.) of a liability or legal obligation; (f) in proverbs.
Theol.: (a) To bring salvation, deliver the soul from sin; ~ or spillen, save or damn; ppl. savinge as adj.: redemptive, bringing salvation; (b) to deliver (sb., a soul, the world, etc.) from sin or its consequences; admit (sb.) to eternal life, heaven, etc.; refl. behave in such a way as to gain salvation; ~ from (of, oute of), deliver (sb., the soul, etc.) from (sin, damnation, etc.); (c) ppl. saved as adj.: saved from damnation, destined for Heaven; also, as noun: those who are saved; (d) in oaths and asseverations: so (as, also) god me save, so save me drihten, etc.
(a) To refrain from killing; refrain from slaying (sb.), spare; also, spare (sth., a city) from destruction or plundering; ben saved harmles, be unharmed; (b) to save (sb., a people) from being killed, prevent the death of; also Fig.; keep (animals, crops, etc.) from perishing; refl. save one's own life; med. save (the body) from death; ~ from (the) deth (ded); ~ to the lif, permit (sb.) to remain alive; (c) ~ lif, to save or spare (someone's, one's own) life; also Fig.; ~ lif and lim; ~ cors, save (one's) skin; ~ soule, save (one's) life; -- transl. of L salvare animam; (d) ~ or (other) spillen, to spare or kill; spare or kill (sb.), spare or destroy (sth.); ~ other slen, slen or ~, spare or slay (sb.); spillen and ~, destroy and spare; (e) in proverbs.
(a) To protect (sb., a part of the body), defend; ~ from, protect (sb.) from (injury, the elements, etc.), protect (a corpse) from (animal predators); also, protect (sb.) against (disease); -- also refl; (b) to protect (sth.) against damage, attack, etc.; ~ from, protect (sth.) from (harm, the elements); keep (a wound) from (an adverse reaction); (c) refl. to escape, get safely away; ben saved, escape, get to safety; (d) in asseverations; (e) in proverbs.
(a) To preserve (sth.) from decomposition or decay; preserve (a faculty, condition of the body, form, etc.), maintain; also, preserve (the gist of the matter in verse); ~ hole, keep (sth.) intact; ~ of, preserve (meat) from (rancidness); (b) to maintain (sth.) in a certain state or condition; ~ giltles blod unshed, keep innocent blood from being shed; (c) to maintain (peace, unity), preserve (virginity, honor, status, etc.), uphold (obedience, continence); maintain (the semblance of disdain); ~ conscience, satisfy (one's) conscience; ppl. saved in absol. constructions: saved the chastite, preserving chastity, with chastity intact; honeste saved, observing decorum; worshipe saved; (d) to maintain (sb., a horse), furnish necessities for; also, refl. fend for oneself; (e) law to preserve (the intent of a law, a right, privilege, etc.), reserve; ~ wille, retain or reserve an option (to do sth.); savinge of; also, ppl. saved in absol. constr.; (f) in asseverative phrases; also, as a polite demur: to ~ your (thi) grace, to ~ your menske, with all due respect to you [cp. sauf adj.7.].
To contain (sth.), hold; retain (fire, heat).
(a) To hold (sb. or sth.) in safekeeping, take into custody, lock up; confine (sb.); make (a town) secure (so as to prevent escape); ~ from, make (sth.) secure from (thieves, theft); (b) to keep possession of (sth.); (c) to refrain from spending or consuming (sth.); hoard (sth.), accumulate, store up; ~ speche, refrain from speech; ppl. savinge, frugal, thrifty; (d) to reserve (sth.) for future use, hold (sth.) back, keep in reserve; -- also without obj.; (e) in proverbs.
(a) To observe (the Sabbath, the rule of a religious order); keep (an oath, a promise), fulfill; confirm (a charter); insure (good faith); (b) ppl. saved in absol. constructions: saved his mede, ?with his wages guaranteed; saved his ordere, without detriment to his order.
(a) To salvage (shipwrecked goods), recover; (b) to recoup (sth., a loss).
(a) To excuse (sb.) for failure to act; relieve (sb.) of responsibility; refl. absolve oneself; (b) ~ from, to keep (sb.) from (an act); (c) inf. to ~ as quasi-prep.: except, with the exception of.
(a) To heal, cure; cure (sb., sickness), heal (a part of the body, a wound, etc.); also fig.; raise (sb.) from the dead; save (a limb) from amputation; refl. cure oneself; also, ?maintain one's health [quot.: *Sidrak & B.]; ppl. savinge, curative [for sense (a) cp. salven v.(b), (c)]; (b) to cure (vice), soothe (troubles) [cp. salven v.(d)]; ~ venim, alleviate the effects of a venomous tongue; (c) in proverb.
To solve (a riddling tale), explain.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • (a1393) Gower CA (Frf 3)4.3360 : If a man this vice [sloth] take In Sompnolence and him delite, Men scholde upon his Dore wryte His epitaphe, as on his grave; For he to spille and noght to save Is schape, as though he were ded.
  • Note: ?sense