Posted by: leothegeo | 2014/03/12

“Savage”

How many times haven’t we heard somebody telling somebody else: “Savage!”

Or, how many times haven’t we heard somebody speaking of tribes and say: “well, you know, those savages that live in the jungle…”

But what if we take a look at what the Free Dictionary has to say:

sav·age  (săv′ĭj)

adj.

1. Not domesticated or cultivated; wild: savage beasts of the jungle.
2. Not civilized; barbaric: a people living in a savage state.
3. Ferocious; fierce: in a savage temper.
4. Vicious or merciless; brutal: a savage attack on a political rival. See Synonyms at cruel.
5. Lacking polish or manners; rude.
n.

1. A person regarded as primitive or uncivilized.
2. A person regarded as brutal, fierce, or vicious.——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

If we just ignore what the first definition has to say (which, at least to my eyes is a bit fusty) and take a look at the remaining ones?
Not cultivated? Who or what is not cultivated? The tribesman/woman living in the jungle or a “modern” man/woman littering a lawn after having had a picnic there? Somebody walking on the pavement and leaving cigarette butts behind?
A spoiled child throwing sweets wrapping paper on the ground (and perhaps even knowing that nearby there’s a litter bin)?

Not civilised? Again, a person living in harmony with living beings or somebody who elbows his/her way through a crowd in the Tube?

Once again, do the test and compare the words “ferocious”, “vicious”, “merciless”, “brutal” to the very same person, the savage who lives in the woods and whose ancestors probably also lived there…


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