c.1200, originally in the Christian sense, "the saving of the soul," from Old French salvaciun and directly from Late Latin salvationem (nominative salvatio, a Church Latin translation of Greek soteria), noun of action from past participle stem of salvare "to save" (see save (v.)). In general (non-religious) sense, attested from late 14c. Meaning "source of salvation" is from late 14c. Salvation Army is from 1878, founded by the Rev. William Booth.