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noble savage

noun
1.
(in romanticism) an idealized view of primitive man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Examples from the Web for noble savage
Historical Examples
  • "Oroonoko" refers to Afra Behn's introduction of the "noble savage" to English interest.

    A Letter Book George Saintsbury
  • "You are 'the noble savage,'" said he, having concluded his inspection.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • I am as free as nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

  • "Wild he is, as the noble savage who ran in the woods," said Cousin Mivers.

    Kenelm Chillingly, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • It's nothing, Seorita: just a "noble savage" after a few centuries of civilisation.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • Looking up, I told the noble savage—for I have the right to call him noble—all.

    Buckskin Mose Buckskin Mose
  • We should have mentioned, perhaps, that our noble savage was a magnificent leopard—or Cape “tiger.”

    The Settler and the Savage R.M. Ballantyne
  • Only now the noble savage has been put into corduroy trousers.

    Sinister Street, vol. 2 Compton Mackenzie
  • But was not even the noble savage better than the pauper who now hangs on to the fringes of society?

    Social Rights And Duties Leslie Stephen
  • It was not always so, when wild in woods the noble savage ran.

    Falling in Love Grant Allen
Contemporary definitions for noble savage
noun

a primitive human as characterized in literature, representing natural goodness and simplicity when not encumbered by civilization

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noble savage in Culture

noble savage definition


Someone who belongs to an “uncivilized” group or tribe and is considered to be, consequently, more worthy than people who live within civilization. Many writers and thinkers through the centuries of Western civilization have believed in the noble savage. The expression is particularly associated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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