Meaning of SAFE in English


I. safe 1 S2 W2 /seɪf/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative safer , superlative safest )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ safe , ↑ safety ; adverb : ↑ safely ; adjective : ↑ safe ≠ ↑ unsafe ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: sauf , from Latin salvus 'safe, healthy' ]

1 . NOT IN DANGER [not before noun] not in danger of being harmed, lost, or stolen OPP unsafe ⇨ safety :

She doesn’t feel safe in the house on her own.

safe from

The birds’ nests are high up, safe from predators.

Make sure you keep these documents safe.

be (as) safe as houses British English (=be completely safe)

Your money will be as safe as houses.

2 . NOT HARMED OR LOST not harmed, lost, or stolen:

Your family are all safe.

safe and sound/well (=unharmed, especially after being in danger)

The missing children were found safe and sound.

3 . NOT CAUSING HARM not likely to cause any physical injury or harm OPP dangerous :

Flying is one of the safest forms of travel.

Don’t go near the edge – it isn’t safe.

a safe working environment

it is safe (for somebody) to do something

Is it safe to swim here?

safe to use/drink/eat etc

The water is treated to make it safe to drink.

safe for

play areas that are safe for children

(at/from) a safe distance

We watched from a safe distance.

Drivers should keep a safe distance from the car in front.

safe driver

Women are safer drivers than men.

4 . NO RISK not involving any risk and very likely to be successful:

a safe investment

a safe method of contraception

it’s safe to say/assume (that)

I think it’s safe to say that the future is looking pretty good.

5 . safe place a place where something is not likely to be stolen or lost

keep/put something in a safe place

Keep your credit cards in a safe place.

6 . safe journey/arrival/return etc a journey etc when someone or something is not harmed or lost:

His family celebrated his safe return home.

safe journey British English (=said to someone when they start a long journey)

Dad rang to wish me a safe journey.

7 . SUBJECT a safe subject of conversation is not likely to upset anyone or make people argue:

I kept to safe subjects, like the weather.

8 . to be on the safe side spoken to do something in order to be certain to avoid an unpleasant situation:

I’d take an umbrella, just to be on the safe side.

9 . be in safe hands to be with someone who will look after you very well:

Everyone wants to feel that their children are in safe hands.

10 . better (to be) safe than sorry spoken used to say that it is better to be careful, even if this takes time, effort etc, than take a risk that may have a bad result:

Set the alarm clock – better safe than sorry!

11 . safe in the knowledge that ... completely certain that something is true or will happen:

She went out, safe in the knowledge that no one else was awake.

12 . a safe pair of hands someone you can trust to do a difficult job without making mistakes

13 . safe! British English spoken informal used by young people to show approval of something:

‘Alex is having a party.’ ‘Oh, safe!’

14 . NO PROBLEM British English spoken informal used to say that something is good and that there is no problem:

‘How’s your new boss?’ ‘She’s safe.’

⇨ play it safe at ↑ play 1 (9), ⇨ it’s a safe bet (that) at ↑ bet 2 (4), ⇨ safe seat at ↑ seat 1 (2), ⇨ sb’s secret is safe (with somebody) at ↑ secret 2 (1)

• • •


■ not in danger

▪ safe not in danger of being harmed, lost, or stolen. Also used about a place where someone or something is safe:

I don’t feel safe around here.


Keep your valuables in a safe place.

▪ secure if something is secure, it is safe from thieves and criminals. Also used about a place where something is safe:

How do I know that my personal details are secure?


The money is in a very secure place.

▪ well protected not likely to be damaged or harmed by something:

The equipment was well protected from the rain.


Always make sure that you are well protected from the sun.

▪ out of harm’s way in a place where someone or something cannot be hurt or damaged:

She put the glass vases on the top shelf, out of harm’s way.


Make sure that he stays out of harm’s way.

■ not harmed or damaged

▪ safe not harmed or damaged:

The children are all safe.

▪ OK/all right informal safe and not hurt:

I was glad to hear that you were OK.

▪ unharmed not hurt:

The kidnappers released the young man unharmed.

▪ unscathed /ʌnˈskeɪðd/ not hurt or damaged, after an accident, an attack, or a dangerous experience – used when you are surprised by this:

The baby escaped unscathed.


Miraculously, the old part of the city remained unscathed.

▪ in one piece informal not harmed or damaged, especially after a journey or a dangerous experience:

I’m glad you’re home in one piece.

▪ out of danger safe, after being in a dangerous situation:

As soon as they were out of danger, they stopped for a rest.


His doctors say he is out of danger.

II. safe 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ safe , ↑ safety ; adverb : ↑ safely ; adjective : ↑ safe ≠ ↑ unsafe ]

a strong metal box or cupboard with special locks where you keep money and valuable things

III. safe 3 BrE AmE interjection British English informal

said by young people as a greeting

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.