[ feyl-seyf ]
/ ˈfeɪlˌseɪf /
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Electronics. pertaining to or noting a mechanism built into a system, as in an early warning system or a nuclear reactor, for insuring safety should the system fail to operate properly.
equipped with a secondary system that insures continued operation even if the primary system fails.
(sometimes initial capital letter) of, relating to, or designating a system of coded military controls in which bombers dispatched to a prearranged point as part of a standard operating procedure cannot advance farther without direct orders from a designated authority and cannot have the nuclear warheads they carry armed until they have passed their prearranged point.
guaranteed to work; totally reliable: a fail-safe recipe for a cheese soufflé.
(sometimes initial capital letter) the point beyond which the bombers cannot go without specific instruction; the fail-safe point.
something designed to work or function automatically to prevent breakdown of a mechanism, system, or the like.
verb (used with object), fail-safed, fail-saf·ing.
to make fail-safe.
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Origin of fail-safe
First recorded in 1945–50; apparently from verb phrase to fail safe(ly)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for fail-safe
designed to return to a safe condition in the event of a failure or malfunction
(of a nuclear weapon) capable of being deactivated in the event of a failure or accident
unlikely to fail; foolproof
(intr) to return to a safe condition in the event of a failure or malfunction
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012