c. 1300, sauuer, "savior," agent noun from save (v.). Especially of Christ, God, the Virgin, "one who saves from sin and its penalties," and an alternative to saviour (see savior). By 1540s, perhaps a new formation, it had taken on the secular meaning "one who economizes," by c. 1600, that of "one who rescues from destruction or death," and by 1660s that of "means of saving" (as in time-saver, attested in U.S. advertisements by 1836). OED print notes saver as "now only used when saviour would seem inappropriate."
updated on January 08, 2022