1640s, "payment for saving a ship from wreck or capture," from French salvage (15c.), from Old French salver "to save" (see save (v.)). 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.
An allowance or compensation to which those are entitled by whose voluntary exertions, when they were under no legal obligation to render assistance, a ship or goods have been saved from the dangers of the sea, fire, pirates, or enemies. [Century Dictionary]
"to save" (from shipwreck, flood, fire, etc.), 1889, from salvage (n.). Related: Salvaged; salvaging.
"to save from loss at sea," as a ship or goods, 1706, a back-formation from salvage (n.) or salvable. Related: Salved; salving.
also solə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "whole, well-kept."
It forms all or part of: catholic; consolidate; consolidation; holism; holo-; holocaust; Holocene; hologram; holograph; insouciant; safe; safety; sage (n.1) kind of herb; salubrious; salutary; salute; salvage; salvific; salvo "simultaneous discharge of guns;" save (v.) "deliver from danger;" save (prep.) "except;" solder; soldier; solemn; solicit; solicitous; solid; solidarity; solidity; sou.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit sarvah "uninjured, intact, whole;" Avestan haurva- "uninjured, intact;" Old Persian haruva-; Greek holos "whole;" Latin salvus "uninjured, in good health, safe," salus "good health," solidus "solid;" Armenian olj "whole, healthy."
1804, in reference to those who salvage cargos from wrecked ships, from wreck (n.). In Britain often with a overtones of "one who causes a shipwreck in order to plunder it" (1820); but in 19c. Bahamas and the Florida Keys it could be a legal occupation. Applied to those who wreck and plunder institutions from 1882. Meaning "demolition worker" attested by 1958. As a type of ship employed in salvage operations, from 1789. As a railway vehicle with a crane or hoist, from 1904.
mid-13c. (late 12c. as a surname), of animals, "ferocious;" c. 1300, "wild, undomesticated, untamed," also "wild, uncultivated" (of land or places), from Old French sauvage, salvage "wild, savage, untamed, strange, pagan," from Late Latin salvaticus, alteration (vowel assimilation) of silvaticus "wild, woodland," literally "of the woods," from silva "forest, grove" (see sylvan).
Of persons, "indomitable, valiant," also "fierce, bold, cruel" (c. 1300); from late 14c., of persons or behavior, "wild, barbarous, uncivilized;" c. 1400 as "reckless, ungovernable," and by 1610s as "pertaining to or characteristic of savage peoples, living in the lowest condition of development." In heraldry, "naked or clothed in foliage" (1570s). The -l- often was restored in 16c.-17c. English spelling.