from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An analgesic or medicinal ointment.
  • n. Something that soothes or heals; a balm.
  • n. Flattery or commendation.
  • transitive v. To soothe or heal with or as if with salve.
  • transitive v. To ease the distress or agitation of; assuage: salved my conscience by apologizing.
  • transitive v. To salvage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ointment, cream, or balm with soothing, healing, or calming effects.
  • n. Any thing or action that soothes or heals.
  • v. To calm or assuage.
  • v. To salvage.
  • v. An astronomical term meaning to save (the appearances or the phenomena); to explain (a celestial phenomenon); to account for (the apparent motions of the celestial bodies).
  • v. to resolve (a difficulty); to refute (an objection); to harmonize (an apparent contradiction).
  • v. To explain away; to mitigate; to excuse

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An adhesive composition or substance to be applied to wounds or sores; a healing ointment.
  • n. A soothing remedy or antidote.
  • interj. Hail!
  • v. To save, as a ship or goods, from the perils of the sea.
  • transitive v. To say “Salve” to; to greet; to salute.
  • transitive v. To heal by applications or medicaments; to cure by remedial treatment; to apply salve to.
  • transitive v. To heal; to remedy; to cure; to make good; to soothe, as with an ointment, especially by some device, trick, or quibble; to gloss over.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To apply salve to; heal; cure.
  • To help; remedy; redeem; atone for.
  • An obsolete form of save.
  • To save, as a ship or goods, from danger or destruction, as from shipwreck or fire: as, to salve a cargo.
  • To save anything, as the cargo of a ship, from destruction.
  • Hail!
  • To salute or greet with the exclamation “Salve!”
  • n. An adhesive composition or substance to be applied to wounds or sores; an ointment or cerate.
  • n. Hence Help; remedy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation
  • n. anything that remedies or heals or soothes
  • v. save from ruin, destruction, or harm
  • v. apply a salve to, usually for the purpose of healing


Middle English, from Old English sealf.
Back-formation from salvage or salvable.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English sealf, from Proto-Germanic *salbō. Akin to Middle Low German salve (Danish salve), Old High German salba (German Salbe), Gothic 𐍃𐌰𐌻𐌱𐍉𐌽𐍃 (salbons) and to Albanian gjalpë ("butter"). (Wiktionary)
From Latin salvare ("to save") (Wiktionary)



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