1 [sav, sahv]
a medicinal ointment for healing or relieving wounds and sores.
anything that soothes, mollifies, or relieves.
verb (used with object), salved, salving.
to soothe with or as if with salve; assuage: to salve one's conscience.

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English sealf; cognate with German Salbe salve, Sanskrit sarpis melted butter; (v.) Middle English salven, Old English sealfian

3. ease, alleviate, mollify. Unabridged


2 [salv]
verb (used without object), verb (used with object), salved, salving.
to save from loss or destruction; to salvage.

1700–10; back formation from salvage


3 [sal-vee; Latin sahl-wey]

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin salvē! literally, be in good health!; cf. salute Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
salve1 (sælv, sɑːv)
1.  an ointment for wounds, sores, etc
2.  anything that heals or soothes
3.  to apply salve to (a wound, sore, etc)
4.  to soothe, comfort, or appease
[Old English sealf; related to Old High German salba, Greek elpos oil, Sanskrit sarpis lard]

salve2 (sælv)
1.  a less common word for salvage
2.  an archaic word for save
[C18: from salvage]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sealf "healing ointment," from W.Gmc. *salbo- "oily substance" (cf. O.S. salba, M.Du. salve, Du. zalf, O.H.G. salba, Ger. salbe "ointment"), from PIE *solpa-, from base *selp- "fat, butter" (cf. Gk. elpos "fat, oil," Skt. sarpis "melted butter"). The figurative sense of "something to soothe wounded
pride, etc." is from 1736. The verb is O.E. sealfian "anoint (a wound) with salve," from P.Gmc. *salbojanan (cf. Du. zalven, Ger. salben, Goth. salbon "to anoint").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

salve (sāv, säv)
An analgesic or medicinal ointment.

salve v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
The pain of tooth decay leads many people to use alcohol as a salve.
It is a president's responsibility to salve a national wound.
Interest-rate cuts are a salve for debtors and a penalty on savers.
More beeswax and cocoa butter will make a stiffer salve.
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