Definition of safe in US 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 safer with them than alone’
    • ‘Within the hardened shell of the isolated self, one is safe from the pain of love.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If they calmed Tim Wheeler's ego down then they would be safe from harm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This has placed property previously safe from the danger of flood at risk.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was a subtle way of keeping travelling women safe from that eternal danger, The Attentions of Foreign Men.’
    • ‘I hope and pray that the friends and family who mean so much to Sherry have survived and are safe from harm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Everyone is a target, everyone is vulnerable and exposed, and no one is safe from, well… anything.’
    • ‘While most of us are now safe from fire, so many others are now in harm's way.’
    • ‘People still want to feed themselves and their family and be safe from harm.’
    • ‘It amounts to blackmail, but it was the only way to keep us 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?’
    • ‘At least here, they are safe from the dangers of everyday life in the worst of areas.’
    • ‘The classes provide a great opportunity to learn the most effective ways to protect you and to stay safe from potential attackers.’
    • ‘No one bill can guarantee that we'll be safe from a terrorist attack.’
    • ‘All of these things should be reasonably safe from risk of pregnancy, but still enjoyable.’
    • ‘Manage the balance between the need to offer risk and the need to keep children safe from harm.’
    • ‘Barrett installed his family on Moturoa Island, safe from any danger.’
    • ‘At least the video game conferences will be safe from French cameramen.’
    • ‘Few well-known executives who achieved celebrity during the boom years of the Nineties are now safe from shareholder retribution.’
    • ‘She wonders whether her investments and retirement accounts are safe from broad fluctuations in stock prices.’
    protected from danger, protected from harm, shielded, sheltered, guarded, defended, secure, safe and sound, out of harm's way, all right
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Baseball Having reached a base without being put out.
      ‘Davis was safe when the right fielder dropped a fly ball’
      • ‘He ruled the batter out, but the runners were safe at first and second since they ran based on the call they saw made by the second base umpire.’
      • ‘By the time the Angels players could react to the NOW live ball Pierzynski was safe at first.’
      • ‘Many thought that Boyer should have been safe because the ball hit him after it skipped past Baker.’
      • ‘Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella lunged to put the tag on Addis, but umpire Frank Dascoli gave the safe call.’
      • ‘Speedier players can also try to bunt the ball and run out the throw to a base, giving basemen hard tags to ensure that they'll be safe when they reach the bag.’
      • ‘Giambi stepped on the bag for the putout then threw to second where Fullmer was safe.’
      • ‘Wisely selling the play, he hustled to first base and was safe, loading the bases.’
    2. 1.2Baseball Allowing the batter to reach base and not involving an error.
      ‘a safe hit’
      • ‘Orta was called safe on a grounder even though the throw beat him to the bag.’
      • ‘Who can forget Berra's anguished leaps and protests over the plate umpire's safe call?’
    3. 1.3 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We talked about the rumble only when a safe distance away from family members, especially younger siblings.’
      • ‘There's no place like home for Jays hitters, who believe no opponent's lead is safe, no matter how large.’
      • ‘Fact: the vast majority of Scotland's coastal waters are clean and safe for bathing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Thos Lavery of the Garda Water Unit pointed out the importance of safe boating and water activities and how risks can be reduced.’
      • ‘This might dismay investors, as it might lead to losses even from what seemed to be safe investments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We expect clean air to breathe, pure food to eat and safe water to drink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So the point is, there is no such thing as a safe lead in this game.’
      • ‘A class of boys is being led through a lesson about what water is safe to drink.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have £50,000 and am looking for a safe investment with a high income.’
      • ‘We live with a legacy of polluted air, land, and water that need restoring to their clean, safe state.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They appeared near the stairway and kept a safe distance away.’
      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
    4. 1.4 (of a place) affording security or protection.
      ‘put it in a safe place’
      • ‘And just 16 per cent felt the countryside was a safe place to walk alone.’
      • ‘A civil order status, on the other hand, would imply that the area was safe, with security affairs controlled by the police.’
      • ‘You see, Margo, most people want a job, house mortgage rates they can afford, a safe environment for their children.’
      • ‘The big park is a safe place for children to wander and play around.’
      • ‘I gather Piper's main requirement is a safe place to park her Porsche.’
      • ‘What we have to remember is schools are extremely safe places.’
      • ‘This sandy beach is safe from the danger of killer whales, who will actually launch themselves at the pebbly shore to snatch their victims.’
      • ‘I find my grandkid waiting for me in the library, a safe place to hang out, where the librarians know him, and me.’
      • ‘She can leave, and fly down to a safe opening at the base of this cliff.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For Edinburgh residents, a safe place to park the car became the main topic of conversation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It didn't strike me as more American or more pressing than securing my friend a safe place to pray.’
      • ‘They say they chose the location for its outstanding beauty and the fact that it affords a safe place for their children to play.’
      • ‘Neighbourhoods were safe places where children could roam and have wide networks.’
      • ‘If you have a boat, moor it securely or move it to a designated safe place.’
      • ‘As if people had to constantly reassure themselves that the world was still stable, secure and a safe place to live in.’
      • ‘The victims had been butchered with machetes after apparently being led into the safe refuge of a Catholic Church.’
      • ‘The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city.’
      • ‘Fog has caused many losses around the islands as vessels tried to reach a safe anchorage.’
  • 2derogatory Cautious and unenterprising.

    ‘MacGregor would be a compromise, the safe choice’
    • ‘Though he lacks Clinton's charisma, Gore is considered a safe choice.’
    • ‘That's a safe choice for a conservative offense, but it doesn't mean Peete will last the season in that role.’
    • ‘Kerry became the safe choice, uninspiring but solidly reassuring.’
    • ‘With little to play for late in the season, the safe choice has been to shut it down.’
    • ‘Our motoring correspondent has derided my safe family saloon choice.’
    • ‘Mr. Nebbish seems like the perfect, safe choice if you've been smacked around by relationships.’
    • ‘If there's one thing you can say about critics on the NBCC board, it's that they never pick the safe choices.’
    • ‘He would be, like King Brian, a dull, safe choice for King, despite his callowness.’
    • ‘He was a relatively safe choice because both Megawati's supporters and modernist Muslim groups could accept him.’
    • ‘They are usually a safe choice, but Fred 62 managed to successfully mess them up.’
    • ‘The team kept in the safe, college ranks in the second round by selecting Long Beach State ace Abe Alvarez.’
    • ‘So many cars are now painted silver that it has become the vanilla of colours, but it's still a safe choice.’
    • ‘He seemed a safe choice, but the Central Committee were to have thirty years to think their safe choice over.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Club directors see such experience as a safe choice in these uncertain times.’
    • ‘The wine, typically, did not just include the safe choices of France, California, Australia, Germany and Italy.’
    • ‘Poor Maggie: she gets to go on the trip only because she's the safe choice for Bianca.’
    • ‘Which is a safe choice, but hardly the point of a festival about elbowing the creative boundaries a little.’
    cautious, circumspect, prudent, chary, attentive
    View synonyms
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Crown in that case submitted that the confessions were rightly admitted and that the convictions were safe and satisfactory.’
  • 4Uninjured; with no harm done.

    ‘they had returned safe and sound’
    ‘hopes of her safe return later faded’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We arrived safe and sound on Thursday evening and went direct to Chester Fried Chicken for dinner.’
    • ‘All breathed a sigh of relief to see their comrades safe and sound.’
    • ‘Win or lose, we want our girl next door back safe and sound.’
    • ‘Deployed soldiers can rest assured, knowing their families are safe and sound back home.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Returning to base, the three fighter pilots were happy to hear that all of the downed pilots were safe and uninjured.’
    • ‘My original wingman waited for me at the bottom of the ladder, relieved to see me safe and sound.’
    • ‘I might try posting sketches of him up on some nearby trees with a reward offered for his safe return.’
    • ‘This is one of those films that make you want to hug someone, if only to reassure yourself that you are safe and sound.’
    • ‘Civilian employers are concerned about your welfare and want you to return home safe and sound.’
    • ‘Sympathetic classmates made the call for her and learned that her mother was 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.’
    • ‘A little chanting, a little stretching and a little meditation later, I was home safe and sound before the thunderstorms came.’
    • ‘He had jumped on a plane for New York the moment he got the opportunity, and now he was safe and sound in Baltimore.’
    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
    View synonyms


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

    • ‘My biggest concern as I arrived at the locker was remembering the combination to a small safe for valuables.’
    • ‘Except for a few hundred in bills, everything was locked in the impenetrable safe.’
    • ‘Such documents were prominently marked, and at the end of every work day, all classified materials were locked in safes.’
    • ‘But not so lucky were files, plans and tapes stored in a fireproof cabinet and safe in Manhattan.’
    • ‘Another successful selling point Abrams uses is the discounts many insurance companies give to customers who purchase fireproof safes for their valuables.’
    • ‘At the very least, backup tapes need to be put in a fireproof safe on the premises every day.’
    • ‘Available in green or black, the safes have several lock options.’
    • ‘You will feel more secure knowing your jewelry is safe at home than locked in a hotel safe.’
    • ‘During their two-hour ordeal the boys were locked in a disused safe.’
    • ‘That old anvil putter is locked away in a safe in his son's garage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jim reached into the safe and pulled out the small black-velvet bag that was the only thing inside.’
    • ‘Personakey's Touch Open locking storage cases and safes are nothing short of amazing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Club is optimistic that a large proportion of the records have survived as they were stored in fire proof safes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Put all your valuables into the safe which most hotel rooms are equipped with.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Today, she has thousands of artifacts, which she keeps locked in two gun safes in her garage.’
    strongbox, safety-deposit box, safe-deposit box, coffer, casket, money chest, cash box, repository, depository, locker
    View synonyms
  • 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

    • Used to indicate that one can do something without risk or worry on account of a specified fact.

      ‘they used to recruit hundreds a year, safe in the knowledge that many would leave’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘They keep their distance, just 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In order for one to be on the safe side, you should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.’
      • ‘Just to be on the safe side, bring your ascension robes along.’
      • ‘It was just warm enough to sit outside, but to be on the safe side Ann ordered vegetable soup with a large buttered bap.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But, just to be on the safe side, I haven't been back to Florida since.’


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.