Definition of play (or play it) safe (or for safety) in US English:

play (or play it) safe (or for safety)

phrase

  • Take precautions; avoid risks.

    • ‘Sometimes, in politics as well as in poker, playing safe isn't the best strategy.’
    • ‘The Academy surprised me last year with some genuinely unconventional choices, but I'm playing it safe here.’
    • ‘He has never concealed the fact that he is a moderate politician who plays safe, so he is not about to stick his neck out.’
    • ‘I'm the kind of person who would rather play it safe and lose out than risk everything and have a chance at winning.’
    • ‘The results so far show that women prefer to play it safe than to take risks with their money.’
    • ‘She had to weigh up the pros and cons - risk a long time out this spring, or play it safe and maybe miss out on a medal in front of her home crowd.’
    • ‘He later said: ‘You don't win gold medals by playing it safe.’’
    • ‘I've spent so much of my life being afraid, missing out on experiences because I was playing it safe, staying within the lines, doing what was expected of me.’
    • ‘But I decided that playing it safe would be no fun at all.’
    • ‘Antonio maintains he thought he was playing it safe, because his computer was not directly connected to the Internet.’