the act of saving a ship or its cargo from perils of the seas.
the property so saved.
compensation given to those who voluntarily save a ship or its cargo.
the act of saving anything from fire, danger, etc.
the property saved from danger.
the value or proceeds upon sale of goods recovered from a fire.
verb (used with object), salvaged, salvaging.
to save from shipwreck, fire, etc.

1635–45; < Old French; see save1, -age

salvageable, adjective
salvageability, noun
salvager, noun
nonsalvageable, adjective
unsalvageable, adjective
unsalvageably, adverb
unsalvaged, adjective

salvage, selvage.

7. retrieve, recover, rescue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
salvage (ˈsælvɪdʒ)
1.  the act, process, or business of rescuing vessels or their cargoes from loss at sea
2.  a.  the act of saving any goods or property in danger of damage or destruction
 b.  (as modifier): a salvage operation
3.  the goods or property so saved
4.  compensation paid for the salvage of a vessel or its cargo
5.  the proceeds from the sale of salvaged goods or property
6.  to save or rescue (goods or property) from fire, shipwreck, etc
7.  to gain (something beneficial) from a failure: she salvaged little from the broken marriage
[C17: from Old French, from Medieval Latin salvāgium, from salvāre to save1]

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

1645, "payment for saving a ship from wreck or capture," from Fr. salvage, from O.Fr. salver "to save" (see save). The general sense of "the saving of property from danger" is attested from 1878. Meaning "recycling of waste material" is from 1918, from the British effort in
World War I. The verb is 1889, from the noun.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in maritime law, the rescue of a ship or its cargo on navigable waters from a peril that, except for the rescuer's assistance, would have led to the loss or destruction of the property. Under some jurisdictions, aircraft may also be salved. Except for salvage performed under contract, the rescuer-known as the salvor-must act voluntarily without being under any legal duty to do so, apart from the general duty to give assistance to those in peril at sea or to stand by after a collision. So long as the owner or his agent remains on the ship, unwanted offers of salvage may be refused. A derelict-a vessel found entirely deserted or abandoned without hope or intention of recovery-is, however, fair game for anyone who comes across it. Typical acts of salvage include releasing ships that have run aground or on reefs, raising sunken ships (or their cargo), putting out fires, and so on.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
When the refund check does come in, several weeks later, it may be too late to
  salvage their grades for that semester.
After a decade of poor planning, the space agency is hoping to salvage what it
If you want even a chance to salvage your credibility, you might start with
  practicing what you preach.
And my indefatigable guides scoured antique shops with me to salvage letters
  that might eventually have been thrown away.
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