salves; salved; salving

A salve is something that soothes. You can use an ointment as a salve for an itchy rash, or maybe your kind words can act as a salve to comfort a heartsick friend.

In some parts of the world, people pronounce salve the way it's spelled, but in the U.S. the correct pronunciation has a silent L. You can use this word for things that make people feel better — not just ointment: "A hot cup of tea is a salve for me." And you can also use it as a verb: "The nurse will salve your wounds now." Salve comes from a Proto-Indo-European root that means "fat" or "butter."

Definitions of salve
  1. noun
    semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation
    synonyms: balm, ointment, unction, unguent
    see moresee less
    show 11 types...
    hide 11 types...
    an ointment used in treating bruises
    baby oil
    an ointment for babies
    an ointment containing a fragrant resin
    carron oil
    an ointment formerly used to treat burns
    a hard medicated paste made of lard or oil mixed with wax or resin
    chrism, chrisom, holy oil, sacramental oil
    a consecrated ointment consisting of a mixture of oil and balsam
    lip balm
    a balm applied to the lips
    mentholated salve
    a salve containing menthol
    mercurial ointment
    an ointment containing mercury
    zinc ointment
    an ointment containing zinc that is used to treat certain skin diseases
    camphor ice
    a cerate made of camphor and wax and spermaceti and castor oil
    type of:
    curative, cure, remedy, therapeutic
    a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieve pain
  2. noun
    anything that remedies or heals or soothes
    “he needed a salve for his conscience”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    redress, remediation, remedy
    act of correcting an error or a fault or an evil
  3. verb
    apply a salve to, usually for the purpose of healing
    see moresee less
    type of:
    medicate, medicine
    treat medicinally, treat with medicine
  4. verb
    save from ruin, destruction, or harm
    synonyms: relieve, salvage, save
    see moresee less
    type of:
    deliver, rescue
    free from harm or evil
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘salve'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up salve for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer