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"Savage" was a term used to imply that the subject was more primitive or less civilised than the speaker. Sometimes the term was used neutrally or even warmly, and in other contexts, it had a pejorative edge.
On more than one occasion, the Fourth Doctor referred to Leela as a savage due to her primal behaviour. However, he employed the term with affection and melancholy — though she could not hear it — when he bade her farewell. (TV: The Face of Evil, The Invasion of Time; AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni)