[ seyf ]
/ seɪf /

adjective, saf·er, saf·est.


Informal. in a safe manner; safely: Learn how to drive safe.See Grammar note at adverb.


Nearby words

  1. safari park,
  2. safari shirt,
  3. safari suit,
  4. safavid,
  5. safawid,
  6. safe and sound,
  7. safe area,
  8. safe as houses,
  9. safe conduct,
  10. safe deposit box


    play it safe, play(def 85).

Origin of safe

1250–1300; (adj.) Middle English sauf, saf < Anglo-French saf, Old French sauf < Latin salvus intact, whole; (noun) late Middle English save, orig. derivative of save1, assimilated to the adj.; cf. salvation

1. protected, sound, guarded. Safe, secure may 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. 4. sure, reliable. 5. wary, careful. 9. strongbox, coffer, chest, safe-deposit box.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for safe

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 Formssafely, 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

Word Origin and History for safe
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with safe


In addition to the idioms beginning with safe

  • safe and sound
  • safe as houses

also see:

  • better safe than sorry
  • on the safe side
  • play it safe
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.