Definition of safety in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsāftē/

noun (plural safeties)

1The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury: they should leave for their own safety the survivors were airlifted to safety
More example sentences
  • After the inspection, the premises were voluntarily closed for two weeks, until officers were satisfied there was no longer a risk to food safety.
  • The case against Sellafield usually centres upon the risk to health and safety posed by the dumping of nuclear waste into the Irish Sea.
  • Steinbach veterinarian Doug Bazinet said the risk from BSE to human health and food safety is very low.
welfare, well-being, protection, security
1.1 [as modifier] Denoting something designed to prevent injury or damage: a safety barrier a safety helmet
More example sentences
  • Reports indicate that safety rails designed to prevent falls from the platform had been removed.
  • There were also damaged safety barriers and walkways.
  • Many of these fatalities and injuries could have been prevented if proper safety precautions were taken.
1.2North American short for safety lock.
Example sentences
  • It can be fired single or double-action, and has an automatic safety that blocks the firing pin until the trigger is pulled.
  • Like all Glocks, the G37 has three safeties: a trigger safety, firing pin safety and drop safety.
  • Glock fans would be tempted to compare it to the thingy that sticks out of the Glock trigger that they call a trigger safety.
1.3US informal A condom.
2 American Football A defensive back who normally is positioned well behind the line of scrimmage.
Example sentences
  • Moss' presence also helps the running game because defenses often keep safeties deep to account for him.
  • Their speed will force defenses to use their safeties deeper to help the corners.
  • The team almost certainly will take a safety with one of its first draft picks and will need to find some depth at corner in free agency.
2.1A play in which the offense downs the ball (by action of the defense, or intentionally) in their own end zone, scoring two points for the defense.
Example sentences
  • If she has played a safety on her trouble ball, she would have won.
  • All they need to do is to put the ball at the back of the net and their safety will be secured.
  • Asi Faoa blocked the ensuing punt in the end zone for a UCLA safety.



safety first

Used to advise caution.
Example sentences
  • While they have not criticised the actions of the woman in fending off the attacker, police advise the public to always think about safety first.
  • Londesbrough Park had by far the better of a draw against a cautious Sheriff Hutton Bridge side who opted for safety first.
  • It's time for mothers to slow down and put safety first.

there's safety in numbers

proverb Being in a group of people makes you feel more confident or secure about taking action.
Example sentences
  • As ritual has it, dozens of fearless souls - knowing that there's safety in numbers - overcome their jittery apprehensions and descend to the place where Gallagher was murdered.
  • Gee, if the Iraqis have figured out there's safety in numbers, security may turn out to be a problem…
  • As touring acts have demonstrated of late, there's safety in numbers.


Middle English: from Old French sauvete, from medieval Latin salvitas, from Latin salvus 'safe'.

  • Like safe, this ultimately comes from Latin salvus ‘uninjured, safe’, also the source of salvage (late 17th century) originally payment for saving a ship, salver, salvation (Middle English), and save. The proverb there is safety in numbers has echoes in the biblical Proverbs: ‘In the multitude of counsellors there is safety’. The first to use the modern phrasing was Jane Austen in her novel Emma, published in 1814: ‘She determined to call upon them and seek safety in numbers.’

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: safe·ty

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