For expressing the religious concept of being "saved," what is the difference between salvo and salvado? Is there any difference in connotation or formality of the two words? Are there any contexts where one word would be correct and the other incorrect?

  • Have not heard salvo used as "saved". I have only heard it used to mean "except for". As in "Tengo todo que necesito salvo el dinero." Or something to that effect. – user11464 Dec 8 '15 at 22:27

I would say, that at least in Spain, the only one of them used in Religion is "salvado", as a participle of the verb "salvar".

If you look up the definition in RAE of "salvar" you'd see this:

  1. tr. Dicho de Dios: Dar la gloria y bienaventuranza eterna.

which I think it's the exact definition you're looking for.

While for salvo the closest meaning is probably:

fuera de peligro

which is not the same. It's simply to be in a safe place or situation after being in danger.


In some resources through the Internet "salvo" is said to be an irregular participle of verb "salvar" (though the official resource RAE only gives "salvados"). If "salvo" can be a participle of salvar then both forms would be also acceptable. Maybe in the past it was used in that way but right now, at least in Spain, nobody says things like:

yo he salvo mucha gente.*

yo soy salvo por Dios.*

  • The place I've run across salvo is in the Bible used in most Spanish speaking countries (e.g. "sois salvos" in RVR's Efesios 2:8). – jrdioko Jun 29 '12 at 18:16
  • @Javi - I have to disagree with you in that "salvo" IS used in religion. I do not know in Spain, but in Mexico both at services and in the Bible you can read "salvo" as a way to indicate that your sins have been forgiven so your soul has been saved. – Sergio Romero Jun 29 '12 at 18:24
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    @SergioRomero OK, I've done a quick search and several pages gives "salvo" as an alternative participle for "salvar", though RAE only accepts "salvado". This might be the reason, they are using that irregular participle in the passive voice. Maybe it was used in the old times, but in Spain right now saying something like "yo soy salvo por Dios" sounds horrible. – Javi Jun 29 '12 at 18:29
  • @djorko the comment above can explain why. – Javi Jun 29 '12 at 18:30
  • Hmm, it would be great to see a source saying salvo is actually an alternative past participle as opposed to just an adjective being used in a similar way. – jrdioko Jun 29 '12 at 20:12

Basically the two terms mean the same thing.

That being said "salvo" is an adjective and "salvado" is the conjugation of the transitive verb "salvar" so the use of the words is slightly different:

Eres salvo / You are saved.

Has sido salvado / You have been saved.

As a native speaker I feel obligated to add that I have never heard the word "salvo" in a different context other than the religious one, which does not mean that it would be incorrect to use it only that it may not be that common.

  • Does "eres salvado" work as well? – jrdioko Jun 29 '12 at 18:10
  • Technically no in this context or used this way. Allow me to elaborate. It would be correct if you are using it as (if I remember correctly the tense name is) present continuous as in: You are being saved from the clutches of sin / Eres salvado (or estas siendo salvado) de las garras del pecado. But, even though I am not 100% positive that it is grammatically incorrect, it sounds weird to say "Eres salvado" when you are trying to say "You are saved". Again remember that "salvo" is an adjective and "salvado" a verb. – Sergio Romero Jun 29 '12 at 18:21
  • Salvo = Out of danger
  • Salvado = Somebody helps or rescue the subject to be out of danger

  • Salvo = Fuera de peligro

  • Salvado = Alguien ayuda o rescata al sujeto para estar fuera de peligro
  • Hmm, sort of like "safe" vs. "saved" in English then? – jrdioko Jul 3 '12 at 17:49
  • @jrdioko Yep !. – user983248 Jul 3 '12 at 18:38
  • De hecho "salvado" no es alguien que ayuda o rescata, es más bien quién es ayudado o rescatado. La persona que lo rescata es "el salvador" – Newbie Aug 2 '13 at 17:30
  • i think this answer is not complete. I understand that "salvado" is the past participe of "salvar" and "salvo" is the action of save someone, there is a difference with "estar a salvo", note the 'a' before 'salvo'. – Riverarodrigoa Jul 25 '18 at 9:58

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