[ seyf ]
/ seɪf /
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See synonyms for: safe / safer / safest / safes on Thesaurus.com

adjective, saf·er, saf·est.
Informal. in a safe manner; safely: Learn how to drive safe.See Grammar note at adverb.
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Idioms about safe

    play it safe, play (def. 85).

Origin of safe

First recorded in 1250–1300; (adjective) Middle English sauf, saf from Anglo-French saf, Old French sauf from Latin salvus “intact, whole”; (noun) late Middle English save, originally derivative of save1, assimilated to the adjective; cf. salvation

synonym study for safe

1. Safe, secure can both imply that something can be regarded as free from danger. These words are frequently interchangeable. Safe, however, is applied rather to a person or thing that is out of or has passed beyond the reach of danger: The ship is safe in port. Secure is applied to that about which there is no need to fear or worry: to feel secure about the future; The foundation of the house does not seem very secure.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of safe?

Safe describes something that is secure from harm or danger. Safe can also refer to something that is free from danger and is not risky. Safe is a secure object that is used to keep valuables in. Safe has several other senses as an adjective, noun, and adverb.

Safe means that something or someone is secured. If you’re safe, you don’t have to worry about getting hurt or being at risk. The word safety means something is intended to help avoid risk or the state of not being at risk.

Real-life examples: Babies are usually kept in cribs or limited to certain parts of a house so that they will be kept safe and won’t wander into danger. Eggs are kept in special containers designed to keep them safe from cracking. Athletes often wear equipment such as helmets that keep their sensitive body parts safe (or safer) from injury.

Used in a sentence: The scared child felt safe with their father and mother. 

Safe also means something or someone avoided danger or managed to come through an event unhurt. This sense is often used in the phrase safe and sound.

Real-life examples: Firefighters, police, and paramedics won’t relax or leave a scene until they know everyone is safe. Family members of people stuck in a dangerous situation hope they will be safe.

Used in a sentence: Somehow, Ebony made it out safe and sound after falling into the lion exhibit. 

Safe can also mean that something is not risky or is unlikely to be wrong.

Real-life examples: In gambling, safe bets usually have low prizes. Companies that are already very successful and financially secure are usually considered safe investments. It is a safe guess to say it will rain if you already see thunderclouds and lightning.

Used in a sentence: We took the safe way home by walking together on brightly lit streets. 

A safe is a secure box or similar object that is designed to protect valuables from being stolen or damaged.

Real-life examples: Banks and stores often keep cash locked in a safe. You might keep your cherished things in a small safe that has a lock and key.

Used in a sentence: Jadyn keeps his gold coins in an iron safe hidden behind a painting on the wall.

Where does safe come from?

The first records of safe come from around 1250. It ultimately comes from the Latin salvus, meaning “intact” or “whole.”

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What are some other forms related to safe?

  • safely (adverb)
  • safeness (noun)
  • quasi-safe (adjective)
  • quasi-safely (adverb)

What are some synonyms for safe?

What are some words that share a root or word element with safe

What are some words that often get used in discussing safe?

How is safe used in real life?

Safe is a common word that is often used to refer to not being in danger or at risk.



Try using safe!

Is safe used correctly in the following sentence?

He didn’t want to risk taking the safe path with many dangerous twists and turns next to steep cliffs.

How to use safe in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for safe

/ (seɪf) /

in a safe conditionthe children are safe in bed now
play safe to act in a way least likely to cause danger, controversy, or defeat

Derived forms of safe

safely, adverbsafeness, noun

Word Origin for safe

C13: from Old French salf, from Latin salvus; related to Latin salus safety
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with safe


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.