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noun, plural se·cu·ri·ties.
  1. freedom from danger, risk, etc.; safety.
  2. freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt; well-founded confidence.
  3. something that secures or makes safe; protection; defense.
  4. freedom from financial cares or from want: The insurance policy gave the family security.
  5. precautions taken to guard against crime, attack, sabotage, espionage, etc.: claims that security was lax at the embassy; the importance of computer security to prevent hackers from gaining access.
  6. a department or organization responsible for protection or safety: He called security when he spotted the intruder.
  7. protection or precautions taken against escape; custody: The dangerous criminal was placed under maximum security.
  8. an assurance; guarantee.
  9. Law.
    1. something given or deposited as surety for the fulfillment of a promise or an obligation, the payment of a debt, etc.
    2. one who becomes surety for another.
  10. an evidence of debt or of property, as a bond or a certificate of stock.
  11. Usually securities. stocks and bonds.
  12. Archaic. overconfidence; cockiness.
  1. of, relating to, or serving as security: The company has instituted stricter security measures.

Origin of security

1400–50; late Middle English securytye, securite(e) < Latin sēcūritās. See secure, -ity
Related formsnon·se·cu·ri·ty, noun, plural non·se·cu·ri·ties.o·ver·se·cu·ri·ty, nounself-se·cu·ri·ty, nounsub·se·cu·ri·ty, noun, plural sub·se·cu·ri·ties.

Synonyms for security

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for security


noun plural -ties
  1. the state of being secure
  2. assured freedom from poverty or wanthe needs the security of a permanent job
  3. a person or thing that secures, guarantees, etc
  4. precautions taken to ensure against theft, espionage, etcthe security in the government offices was not very good
  5. (often plural)
    1. a certificate of creditorship or property carrying the right to receive interest or dividend, such as shares or bonds
    2. the financial asset represented by such a certificate
  6. the specific asset that a creditor can claim title to in the event of default on an obligation
  7. something given or pledged to secure the fulfilment of a promise or obligation
  8. a person who undertakes to fulfil another person's obligation
  9. the protection of data to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to computer files
  10. archaic carelessness or overconfidence
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 security

mid-15c., "condition of being secure," from Latin securitas, from securus "free from care" (see secure). Replacing sikerte (early 15c.), from an earlier borrowing from Latin; earlier in the sense "security" was sikerhede (early 13c.); sikernesse (c.1200).

Meaning "something which secures" is from 1580s; "safety of a state, person, etc." is from 1941. Legal sense of "property in bonds" is from mid-15c.; that of "document held by a creditor" is from 1680s. Phrase security blanket in figurative sense is attested from 1966, in reference to the crib blanket carried by the character Linus in the "Peanuts" comic strip (1956).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with security


In addition to the idiom beginning with security

  • security blanket

also see:

  • lull into (false sense of security)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.