Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: sauf, from Latin salvus 'safe, healthy'


1 adjective
safe1 S2 W2 comparative safer, superlative safest

not causing harm

not likely to cause any physical injury or harm [≠ dangerous]:
Don't go near the edge - it isn't safe.
Flying is one of the safest forms of travel.
a safe working environment
safe to use/drink/eat etc
The water is treated to make it safe to drink.
safe for
play-areas that are safe for children
(at/from) a safe distance
We watched from a safe distance.
Drivers should keep a safe distance from the car in front.
safe driver
Women are safer drivers than men.

not in danger

[not before noun] not in danger of being lost, harmed, or stolen [≠ unsafe; ↪ safety]:
She doesn't feel safe in the house on her own.
safe from
The birds' nests are high up, safe from predators.
Make sure you keep these documents safe.
safe and sound/well (=unharmed, especially after being in danger)
The missing children were found safe and sound.

safe place

a place where something is not likely to be stolen or lost
keep/put something in a safe place
Keep your credit cards in a safe place.

safe journey/arrival/return etc

a journey etc when someone or something is not harmed or lost:
His family celebrated his safe return home.
safe journey British English (=said to someone when they start a long journey)
Dad rang to wish me a safe journey.

no risk

not involving any risk and very likely to be successful:
a safe investment
a safe method of contraception
it's safe to say/assume (that)
I think it's safe to say that the future is looking pretty good.
be (as) safe as houses British English (=be completely safe)


a safe subject of conversation is not likely to upset anyone or make people argue:
I kept to safe subjects, like the weather.

to be on the safe side

spoken to do something in order to be certain to avoid an unpleasant situation:
I'd take an umbrella, just to be on the safe side.

be in safe hands

to be with someone who will look after you very well:
Everyone wants to feel that their children are in safe hands.

better (to be) safe than sorry

spoken used to say that it is better to be careful, even if this takes time, effort etc, than take a risk that may have a bad result:
Set the alarm clock - better safe than sorry!

safe in the knowledge that...

completely certain that something is true or will happen:
She went out, safe in the knowledge that no one else was awake.

a safe pair of hands

someone you can trust to do a difficult job without making mistakes


British English spoken informal used by young people to show approval of something:
'Alex is having a party.' 'Oh, safe!'

no problem

British English spoken informal used to say that something is good and that there is no problem:
'How's your new boss?' 'She's safe.'

➔ play it safe

at play1 (9)

; ➔ it's a safe bet (that)

at bet2 (4)

; ➔ safe seat

at seat1 (2)

; ➔ somebody's secret is safe (with somebody)

at secret2 (1)

Dictionary results for "safe"
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