Definition of safe in English:



  • 1predicative Protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost.

    ‘eggs remain in the damp sand, safe from marine predators’
    ‘she felt safe with him’
    • ‘He was staying there with her, and no one was going to move him until he saw with his own eyes that she was safe from harm.’
    • ‘At least the video game conferences will be safe from French cameramen.’
    • ‘Now safe from harm, he and his parents continued their journey and when they arrived in Timnah the lovers looked at each other and were pleased.’
    • ‘It amounts to blackmail, but it was the only way to keep us safe from harm.’
    • ‘She wonders whether her investments and retirement accounts are safe from broad fluctuations in stock prices.’
    • ‘While most of us are now safe from fire, so many others are now in harm's way.’
    • ‘I hope and pray that the friends and family who mean so much to Sherry have survived and are safe from harm.’
    • ‘This has placed property previously safe from the danger of flood at risk.’
    • ‘At least here, they are safe from the dangers of everyday life in the worst of areas.’
    • ‘Manage the balance between the need to offer risk and the need to keep children safe from harm.’
    • ‘So how do we know that our food supply and our medication is not being tampered with, and that we are safe from terrorist activity?’
    • ‘The classes provide a great opportunity to learn the most effective ways to protect you and to stay safe from potential attackers.’
    • ‘All of these things should be reasonably safe from risk of pregnancy, but still enjoyable.’
    • ‘Everyone is a target, everyone is vulnerable and exposed, and no one is safe from, well… anything.’
    • ‘No one bill can guarantee that we'll be safe from a terrorist attack.’
    • ‘Barrett installed his family on Moturoa Island, safe from any danger.’
    • ‘Few well-known executives who achieved celebrity during the boom years of the Nineties are now safe from shareholder retribution.’
    • ‘The world had changed; resolve was dented because now for the first time, the Americans knew that they were not safe from those who wished them harm.’
    • ‘If they calmed Tim Wheeler's ego down then they would be safe from harm.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was a subtle way of keeping travelling women safe from that eternal danger, The Attentions of Foreign Men.’
    • ‘People still want to feed themselves and their family and be safe from harm.’
    • ‘Within the hardened shell of the isolated self, one is safe from the pain of love.’
    protected from danger, protected from harm, shielded, sheltered, guarded, defended, secure, safe and sound, out of harm's way, all right
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    1. 1.1 Not likely to cause or lead to harm or injury; not involving danger or risk.
      ‘we have to cross the river where it's safe for us to do so’
      ‘a safe investment that produced regular income’
      • ‘There's no place like home for Jays hitters, who believe no opponent's lead is safe, no matter how large.’
      • ‘We expect clean air to breathe, pure food to eat and safe water to drink.’
      • ‘We live with a legacy of polluted air, land, and water that need restoring to their clean, safe state.’
      • ‘Cuz let's face it, whether he's a bad guy or not, he sure as hell looks like one, and it's only sensible that we check out all the leads just to be safe.’
      • ‘This might dismay investors, as it might lead to losses even from what seemed to be safe investments.’
      • ‘In addition, she said there was a need to dispel some of the myths around cocaine such as the notion that it is relatively safe and relatively clean.’
      • ‘Mr Thos Lavery of the Garda Water Unit pointed out the importance of safe boating and water activities and how risks can be reduced.’
      • ‘We talked about the rumble only when a safe distance away from family members, especially younger siblings.’
      • ‘Because of this we decide that the water was safe enough to clean up in and drink.’
      • ‘Systems led by nurses are safe and effective in out of hours settings.’
      • ‘Fact: the vast majority of Scotland's coastal waters are clean and safe for bathing.’
      • ‘They say the road, which has been the scene of a series of accidents in recent years, needs to be made safe to prevent further injuries.’
      • ‘With two out of every three deaths in Iraq caused by diarrhoea and respiratory infections, a safe supply of clean water is crucial to child survival.’
      • ‘So the point is, there is no such thing as a safe lead in this game.’
      • ‘On the night of May 26, a bus driver who failed to keep a safe distance with the sedan in front, caused the injury of eight passengers.’
      • ‘They appeared near the stairway and kept a safe distance away.’
      • ‘A class of boys is being led through a lesson about what water is safe to drink.’
      • ‘His partner then knows if it is safe to lead trumps or not.’
      • ‘The passes are usually safe and short, leading to completions and increased confidence.’
      • ‘I have £50,000 and am looking for a safe investment with a high income.’
      secure, sound, risk-free, low-risk, riskless, impregnable, unassailable, invulnerable
      harmless, innocuous, non-toxic, non-poisonous, non-irritant, benign, wholesome, mild, low-risk
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a place) affording security or protection.
      ‘put it in a safe place’
      • ‘But a majority still consider the centre is not a safe place to live and business people think the town centre is not a safe place to work.’
      • ‘I find my grandkid waiting for me in the library, a safe place to hang out, where the librarians know him, and me.’
      • ‘Fog has caused many losses around the islands as vessels tried to reach a safe anchorage.’
      • ‘The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city.’
      • ‘For Edinburgh residents, a safe place to park the car became the main topic of conversation.’
      • ‘This sandy beach is safe from the danger of killer whales, who will actually launch themselves at the pebbly shore to snatch their victims.’
      • ‘Neighbourhoods were safe places where children could roam and have wide networks.’
      • ‘I gather Piper's main requirement is a safe place to park her Porsche.’
      • ‘You see, Margo, most people want a job, house mortgage rates they can afford, a safe environment for their children.’
      • ‘The victims had been butchered with machetes after apparently being led into the safe refuge of a Catholic Church.’
      • ‘They say they chose the location for its outstanding beauty and the fact that it affords a safe place for their children to play.’
      • ‘A civil order status, on the other hand, would imply that the area was safe, with security affairs controlled by the police.’
      • ‘Make sure that you park in a safe place off the road and that, as you approach the scene, you will not be hit by another vehicle and that the wreckage itself will not be hit.’
      • ‘And just 16 per cent felt the countryside was a safe place to walk alone.’
      • ‘What we have to remember is schools are extremely safe places.’
      • ‘The big park is a safe place for children to wander and play around.’
      • ‘If you have a boat, moor it securely or move it to a designated safe place.’
      • ‘She can leave, and fly down to a safe opening at the base of this cliff.’
      • ‘As if people had to constantly reassure themselves that the world was still stable, secure and a safe place to live in.’
      • ‘It didn't strike me as more American or more pressing than securing my friend a safe place to pray.’
  • 2derogatory Cautious and unenterprising.

    ‘MacGregor would be a compromise, the safe choice’
    • ‘Not to mention he sees me as a safe choice, the last male in his acquaintance who'd ever play the masher with his wife's kin.’
    • ‘Kerry became the safe choice, uninspiring but solidly reassuring.’
    • ‘Though he lacks Clinton's charisma, Gore is considered a safe choice.’
    • ‘He was a relatively safe choice because both Megawati's supporters and modernist Muslim groups could accept him.’
    • ‘That's a safe choice for a conservative offense, but it doesn't mean Peete will last the season in that role.’
    • ‘Poor Maggie: she gets to go on the trip only because she's the safe choice for Bianca.’
    • ‘He would be, like King Brian, a dull, safe choice for King, despite his callowness.’
    • ‘So many cars are now painted silver that it has become the vanilla of colours, but it's still a safe choice.’
    • ‘If there's one thing you can say about critics on the NBCC board, it's that they never pick the safe choices.’
    • ‘With little to play for late in the season, the safe choice has been to shut it down.’
    • ‘They are usually a safe choice, but Fred 62 managed to successfully mess them up.’
    • ‘Club directors see such experience as a safe choice in these uncertain times.’
    • ‘Which is a safe choice, but hardly the point of a festival about elbowing the creative boundaries a little.’
    • ‘The wine, typically, did not just include the safe choices of France, California, Australia, Germany and Italy.’
    • ‘Our motoring correspondent has derided my safe family saloon choice.’
    • ‘He seemed a safe choice, but the Central Committee were to have thirty years to think their safe choice over.’
    • ‘The team kept in the safe, college ranks in the second round by selecting Long Beach State ace Abe Alvarez.’
    • ‘Mr. Nebbish seems like the perfect, safe choice if you've been smacked around by relationships.’
    cautious, circumspect, prudent, chary, attentive
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  • 3Based on good reasons or evidence and not likely to be proved wrong.

    ‘the verdict is safe and satisfactory’
    ‘his world, it's safe to say, will not fall apart’
    • ‘The Crown in that case submitted that the confessions were rightly admitted and that the convictions were safe and satisfactory.’
    • ‘A Wright victory will lead Labour to conclude that Blair is safe to lead the party into the general election.’
    • ‘Yet the British government claims the evidence is safe.’
    • ‘This appellant's convictions are safe, and his appeal against conviction is dismissed.’
    • ‘For all these reasons, we consider that the jury's verdict in respect of this appellant was safe, and that her appeal must be dismissed.’
  • 4Uninjured; with no harm done.

    ‘they had returned safe and sound’
    ‘hopes of her safe return later faded’
    • ‘Returning to base, the three fighter pilots were happy to hear that all of the downed pilots were safe and uninjured.’
    • ‘All breathed a sigh of relief to see their comrades safe and sound.’
    • ‘He had jumped on a plane for New York the moment he got the opportunity, and now he was safe and sound in Baltimore.’
    • ‘Win or lose, we want our girl next door back safe and sound.’
    • ‘I might try posting sketches of him up on some nearby trees with a reward offered for his safe return.’
    • ‘We took the two dogs and the cat all back and they're now safe and sound.’
    • ‘There is still time to hand in photographs all of which will be returned safely to their owners safe and sound.’
    • ‘Fortunately the missing person turned up, safe and sound, and the boat returned to its station.’
    • ‘Little tykes will soon lose interest, leaving everything safe and sound.’
    • ‘We arrived safe and sound on Thursday evening and went direct to Chester Fried Chicken for dinner.’
    • ‘Sympathetic classmates made the call for her and learned that her mother was safe and sound.’
    • ‘My original wingman waited for me at the bottom of the ladder, relieved to see me safe and sound.’
    • ‘Deployed soldiers can rest assured, knowing their families are safe and sound back home.’
    • ‘I'm not sure if I could say the day ended well but at least I was still me; safe and sound in my bed.’
    • ‘A little chanting, a little stretching and a little meditation later, I was home safe and sound before the thunderstorms came.’
    • ‘Civilian employers are concerned about your welfare and want you to return home safe and sound.’
    • ‘This is one of those films that make you want to hug someone, if only to reassure yourself that you are safe and sound.’
    unharmed, all right, alive and well, well, unhurt, uninjured, unscathed, in one piece, undamaged, out of danger, out of the wood, out of the woods
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  • 5informal Excellent (used to express approval or enthusiasm)

    ‘that shirt is real safe’


  • 1A strong fireproof cabinet with a complex lock, used for the storage of valuables.

    • ‘Fingerprints also are being used with a number of other devices including time clocks, cell phones, door locks and safes.’
    • ‘Until then the £1, 000 necklace will be locked away in a safe in the Church Street shop.’
    • ‘Eventually he learns to trust Andy enough to let him describe the photo he has kept locked in a safe for more than 30 years.’
    • ‘Personakey's Touch Open locking storage cases and safes are nothing short of amazing.’
    • ‘Except for a few hundred in bills, everything was locked in the impenetrable safe.’
    • ‘Put all your valuables into the safe which most hotel rooms are equipped with.’
    • ‘Until they can access their computer and written records, which are locked in a safe in the damaged building, they have no idea who they are marrying when.’
    • ‘Such documents were prominently marked, and at the end of every work day, all classified materials were locked in safes.’
    • ‘At the very least, backup tapes need to be put in a fireproof safe on the premises every day.’
    • ‘That old anvil putter is locked away in a safe in his son's garage.’
    • ‘You will feel more secure knowing your jewelry is safe at home than locked in a hotel safe.’
    • ‘But not so lucky were files, plans and tapes stored in a fireproof cabinet and safe in Manhattan.’
    • ‘After yesterday's post on safes and storage, we heard a snippet on Radio 4's You and Yours about the history of valuables storage.’
    • ‘The Club is optimistic that a large proportion of the records have survived as they were stored in fire proof safes.’
    • ‘Another successful selling point Abrams uses is the discounts many insurance companies give to customers who purchase fireproof safes for their valuables.’
    • ‘Available in green or black, the safes have several lock options.’
    • ‘Today, she has thousands of artifacts, which she keeps locked in two gun safes in her garage.’
    • ‘My biggest concern as I arrived at the locker was remembering the combination to a small safe for valuables.’
    • ‘Jim reached into the safe and pulled out the small black-velvet bag that was the only thing inside.’
    • ‘During their two-hour ordeal the boys were locked in a disused safe.’
    strongbox, safety-deposit box, safe-deposit box, coffer, casket, money chest, cash box, repository, depository, locker
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  • 2North American informal A condom.

    • ‘According to the ad, ‘Julius Schmind would like to give you some straight talk about condoms, rubbers, sheaths, safes, French letters, storkstoppers.’’


  • safe in the knowledge that

    • Confident because of the specified fact.

      ‘they used to recruit hundreds a year, safe in the knowledge that many would leave’
      • ‘The Clinton administration may have signed the treaty, but it did so safe in the knowledge that it wouldn't have a prayer in the Senate.’
      • ‘People need to feel safe in the knowledge that our justice system works well and is fair to all who come into contact with it.’
      • ‘They continue to bombard us with electrical appliances, safe in the knowledge that, when we see them on the shelves, we'll realise that we just cannot do without.’
      • ‘They were prepared to sign up to a framework agreement safe in the knowledge that there will be plenty of chances over the coming weeks, months and probably years to carry on haggling.’
      • ‘With boosted confidence and safe in the knowledge that people do in fact want to see traditional shows with farm animals, the organisers can now plan ahead for next year.’
      • ‘Fortunately, I avoided ridicule at the office, having left with a feeling of slight nausea but safe in the knowledge that I am actually much braver than I thought.’
      • ‘The store keeps a record of your measurements so if you like your togs you can order from the comfort of your living room, safe in the knowledge that there will be no problem size-wise.’
      • ‘I leave Black Rock Desert safe in the knowledge that there is still a place where, for one week at least, you can escape mundanity and soar into the world of your own imagination.’
      • ‘Then the general public can feel safe in the knowledge that if they consult a physiotherapist in the yellow pages they are getting a fully qualified professional.’
      • ‘He didn't want anything extra in return, just to feel safe in the knowledge that if something did happen to him while playing he would be looked after.’
  • to be on the safe side

    • In order to have a margin of security against risks.

      ‘to be on the safe side, she had recorded everything’
      • ‘But I'm happy to mention this - if you're in the UK you may want to order it through a UK site and not a US one, to be on the safe side.’
      • ‘In order for one to be on the safe side, you should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.’
      • ‘And so he said in order to be on the safe side, you need to bring in all your own supplies.’
      • ‘We ordered, five dishes between us to start with, to be on the safe side.’
      • ‘All seemed well but, just to be on the safe side, I downloaded the very latest updates from Symantec, and performed a full system check, to find it still squeaky clean.’
      • ‘Just to be on the safe side, bring your ascension robes along.’
      • ‘They keep their distance, just to be on the safe side.’
      • ‘But, just to be on the safe side, I haven't been back to Florida since.’
      • ‘It's obviously very difficult, but the bottom line is, they want to get people out of the actual buildings, just to be on the safe side, Kitty.’
      • ‘It was just warm enough to sit outside, but to be on the safe side Ann ordered vegetable soup with a large buttered bap.’


Middle English (as an adjective): from Old French sauf, from Latin salvus ‘uninjured’. The noun is from the verb save, later assimilated to the adjectival form.