Definition of safe adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; seɪf
safer, safest


1 [not before noun] protected from any danger or harmThe children are quite safe here.She didn't feel safe on her own.Will the car be safe parked in the road?safe (from somebody/something) They aimed to make the country safe from terrorist attacks.Your secret is safe with me (= I will not tell anyone else).Here's your passport. Now keep it safe.Nobody is safe from suspicion at the moment.We have been assured that our jobs are safe (= we are not in danger of losing them).

without physical danger

2 not likely to lead to any physical harm or dangera safe and effective remedy for coughs and coldssafe (for somebody) (to do something) Is the water here safe to drink?The street is not safe for children to play in.It is one of the safest cars in the world.We watched the explosion from a safe distance.Builders were called in to make the building safe.

not harmed/lost

3 not harmed, damaged, lost, etcWe were glad she let us know she was safe.The missing child was found safe and well.They turned up safe and sound.A reward was offered for the animal's safe return.


4 where somebody/something is not likely to be in danger or to be lostWe all want to live in safer cities.Keep your passport in a safe place.

without risk

5 not involving much or any risk; not likely to be wrong or to upset somebodya safe investmenta safe subject for discussionsafe (to do something) It's safe to assume (that) there will always be a demand for new software.It would be safer to take more money with you in case of emergency. (disapproving) The show was well performed, but so safe and predictable.


6 [usually before noun] doing an activity in a careful way
a safe driver


7 based on good evidencea safe verdict


8 (British English, informal) used by young people to show that they approve of somebody/somethingI like him, he's safe.That kid's safe.9 (British English, informal) used by young people as a way of accepting something that is offered‘You want some?’ ‘Yeah, safe.’
see also fail-safe

better safe than sorry

(saying) used to say that it is wiser to be too careful than to act too quickly and do something you may later wish you had not

in safe hands


in the safe hands of somebody

being taken care of well by somebody
I've left the kids in safe hands—with my parents.Their problem was in the safe hands of the experts.

on the safe side

being especially careful; taking no risks
I took some extra cash just to be on the safe side.

play (it) safe

to be careful; to avoid risks
Play safe—keep out of the sun in the middle of the day.

(as) safe as houses

(British English) very safe

safe in the knowledge that

confident because you know that something is true or will happen
She went out safe in the knowledge that she looked fabulous.

a safe pair of hands

(especially British English) a person that you can trust to do a job well
more at a good/safe bet at bet n.