Definition of safe in English:

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Pronunciation: /seɪf/


1 [predicative] 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
More example sentences
  • I hope and pray that the friends and family who mean so much to Sherry have survived and are safe from harm.
  • At least here, they are safe from the dangers of everyday life in the worst of areas.
  • 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.
protected from harm/danger, shielded, sheltered, guarded, defended, secure, safe and sound, out of harm's way, all right
2Not 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Because of this we decide that the water was safe enough to clean up in and drink.
  • Fact: the vast majority of Scotland's coastal waters are clean and safe for bathing.
secure, sound, risk-free, low-risk, riskless, impregnable, unassailable, invulnerable
harmless, innocuous, non-toxic, non-poisonous, non-irritant, benign, wholesome, mild, low-risk
2.1(Of a place) affording security or protection: put it in a safe place
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • You see, Margo, most people want a job, house mortgage rates they can afford, a safe environment for their children.
3often derogatory Cautious and unenterprising: MacGregor would be a compromise, the safe choice
More example sentences
  • That's a safe choice for a conservative offense, but it doesn't mean Peete will last the season in that role.
  • Mr. Nebbish seems like the perfect, safe choice if you've been smacked around by relationships.
  • So many cars are now painted silver that it has become the vanilla of colours, but it's still a safe choice.
cautious, circumspect, prudent, chary, attentive;
timid, unadventurous, conservative, unenterprising
informal leery
4Based 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
More example sentences
  • The Crown in that case submitted that the confessions were rightly admitted and that the convictions were safe and satisfactory.
  • 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.
  • This appellant's convictions are safe, and his appeal against conviction is dismissed.
5Uninjured; with no harm done: they had returned safe and sound hopes of her safe return later faded
More example sentences
  • Civilian employers are concerned about your welfare and want you to return home safe and sound.
  • Fortunately the missing person turned up, safe and sound, and the boat returned to its station.
  • There is still time to hand in photographs all of which will be returned safely to their owners safe and sound.
unharmed, all right, alive and well, well, unhurt, uninjured, unscathed, in one piece, undamaged, out of danger, out of the wood(s)
informal OK
6 informal 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.
Example sentences
  • Another successful selling point Abrams uses is the discounts many insurance companies give to customers who purchase fireproof safes for their valuables.
  • Personakey's Touch Open locking storage cases and safes are nothing short of amazing.
  • But not so lucky were files, plans and tapes stored in a fireproof cabinet and safe in Manhattan.
strongbox, safety-deposit box, safe-deposit box, coffer, casket, money chest, cash box, repository, depository, locker;
strongroom, vault
2North American informal A condom.
Example sentences
  • According to the ad, ‘Julius Schmind would like to give you some straight talk about condoms, rubbers, sheaths, safes, French letters, storkstoppers.’



as safe as houses

see house.

in safe hands

see hand.

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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

a safe pair of hands

see hand.

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
More example sentences
  • And so he said in order to be on the safe side, you need to bring in all your own supplies.
  • In order for one to be on the safe side, you should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
  • It was just warm enough to sit outside, but to be on the safe side Ann ordered vegetable soup with a large buttered bap.



Pronunciation: /ˈseɪfnəs/
Example sentences
  • Tracks like ‘Love steals us from loneliness’ may be over-calculated, but their safeness means they are entirely inoffensive and even enjoyable in spurts.
  • And so to err on the side of safeness, my press and I nixed the vast majority of ‘in limbo ‘s.’
  • Despite the safeness of so many seats, public officials still spend half their time fund raising - in case they either run for re-election or for another office, or perhaps to help out a friend in the next election.


Middle English (as an adjective): from Old French sauf, from Latin salvus 'uninjured'. The noun is from the verb save1, later assimilated to the adjectival form.

Words that rhyme with safe

chafe, Rafe, vouchsafe, waif

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: safe

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