late 14c., "protection, safety," from Middle French sauvegarde "safekeeping, safeguard" (13c.), from Old French salve, sauve (fem. of sauf; see safe (adj.)) + garde "a keeping" (see guard (n.)). Meaning "something that offers security from danger" is recorded from late 15c.
mid-15c., from safeguard (n.). Related: Safeguarded; safeguarding.