See more synonyms for safe on
adjective, saf·er, saf·est.
  1. secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk: a safe place.
  2. free from hurt, injury, danger, or risk: to arrive safe and sound.
  3. involving little or no risk of mishap, error, etc.: a safe estimate.
  4. dependable or trustworthy: a safe guide.
  5. careful to avoid danger or controversy: a safe player; a safe play.
  6. denied the chance to do harm; in secure custody: a criminal safe in jail.
  7. Baseball.
    1. reaching base without being put out: safe on the throw to first base.
    2. making it possible to reach a base: a safe slide.
  1. Informal. in a safe manner; safely: Learn how to drive safe.See Grammar note at adverb.
  1. a steel or iron box or repository for money, jewels, papers, etc.
  2. any receptacle or structure for the storage or preservation of articles: a meat safe.
  3. (in plumbing)
    1. a pan for catching leakage.
    2. template(def 7).
  4. Slang. a condom.
  1. 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
Related formssafe·ly, adverbsafe·ness, nounqua·si-safe, adjectivequa·si-safe·ly, adverbsu·per·safe, adjectivesu·per·safe·ly, adverbsu·per·safe·ness, nounul·tra·safe, adjectiveun·safe, adjectiveun·safe·ly, adverbun·safe·ness, noun

Synonyms for safe

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

Examples from the Web for unsafely

Contemporary Examples of unsafely

Historical Examples of unsafely

  • I reached for it without considering how unsafely I was lying there, when suddenly I felt myself slipping down.

    Hadda Padda

    Godmunder Kamban

British Dictionary definitions for unsafely


  1. affording security or protection from harma safe place
  2. (postpositive) free from dangeryou'll be safe here
  3. secure from risk; certain; sounda safe investment; a safe bet
  4. worthy of trust; prudenta safe companion
  5. tending to avoid controversy or riska safe player
  6. unable to do harm; not dangerousa criminal safe behind bars; water safe to drink
  7. British informal excellent
  8. on the safe side as a precaution
  1. in a safe conditionthe children are safe in bed now
  2. play safe to act in a way least likely to cause danger, controversy, or defeat
  1. a strong container, usually of metal and provided with a secure lock, for storing money or valuables
  2. a small ventilated cupboard-like container for storing food
  3. US and Canadian a slang word for condom
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 unsafely



c.1300, "unscathed, unhurt, uninjured; free from danger or molestation, in safety, secure; saved spiritually, redeemed, not damned;" from Old French sauf "protected, watched-over; assured of salvation," from Latin salvus "uninjured, in good health, safe," related to salus "good health," saluber "healthful," all from PIE *solwos from root *sol- "whole" (cf. Latin solidus "solid," Sanskrit sarvah "uninjured, intact, whole," Avestan haurva- "uninjured, intact," Old Persian haruva-, Greek holos "whole").

As a quasi-preposition from c.1300, on model of French and Latin cognates. From late 14c. as "rescued, delivered; protected; left alive, unkilled." Meaning "not exposed to danger" (of places) is attested from late 14c.; of actions, etc., "free from risk," first recorded 1580s. Meaning "sure, reliable, not a danger" is from c.1600. Sense of "conservative, cautious" is from 1823. Paired alliteratively with sound (adj.) from late 14c. The noun safe-conduct (late 13c.) is from Old French sauf-conduit (13c.).



"chest for keeping food or valuables," early 15c., save, from Middle French en sauf "in safety," from sauf (see safe (adj.)). Spelling with -f- first recorded 1680s, from influence of safe (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with unsafely


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.