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



    BrE BrE//seɪf//
    ; NAmE NAmE//seɪf//
    (safer, safest)
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  1. 1  [not before noun] protected from any danger or harm The 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). opposite unsafe
  2. without physical danger
  3. 2  not likely to lead to any physical harm or danger a safe and effective remedy for coughs and colds safe (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. opposite unsafe
  4. not harmed/lost
  5. 3  not harmed, damaged, lost, etc. We 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.
  6. place
  7. 4  where somebody/something is not likely to be in danger or to be lost We all want to live in safer cities. Keep your passport in a safe place. opposite unsafe
  8. without risk
  9. 5  not involving much or any risk; not likely to be wrong or to upset somebody a safe investment a safe subject for discussion safe (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.
  10. person
  11. 6  [usually before noun] doing an activity in a careful way synonym careful a safe driver
  12. law
  13. 7based on good evidence a safe verdict opposite unsafe
  14. approving
  15. 8(British English, informal) used by young people to show that they approve of somebody/something I like him, he's safe. That kid's safe.
  16. 9(British English, informal) used by young people as a way of accepting something that is offered ‘You want some?’ ‘Yeah, safe.’
  17. see also fail-safe
    Word OriginMiddle English (as an adjective): from Old French sauf, from Latin salvus ‘uninjured’. The noun is from the verb save, later assimilated to the adjectival form.Extra examples Don’t worry—he’ll be all safe and snug in the barn. I decided to play it safe and wore a formal suit. Keep your money safe by carrying it in an inside pocket. She claimed that nuclear power was the most environmentally safe form of energy. The army experts made the bomb safe. The water was not considered safe to drink. The wood is never entirely safe for women on their own. They returned from their adventure safe and sound. They were safe from attack. You should be safe enough, but don’t go too far. Your money will be safe with me. a completely safe and secure environment for young children an environmentally safe form of energy A reward was offered for the safe return of the cat. A safe and effective vaccine for the disease will soon be available. Builders were called in to make the building safe. Electricity shares are still a safe investment. I decided to play (it) safe and not let on I understood what they were saying. I didn’t feel safe in the house on my own. It’s safe to assume (that) there will always be a demand for new software. She decided to avoid travelling at night. Better safe than sorry. The girl was eventually found safe and well. The source of Harry Pascoe’s wealth was not a safe subject for public discussion. They aim to make the country safe from terrorist attacks. They turned up safe and sound. We should be able to keep them safe here. We watched the explosion from a safe distance.Idioms (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 something that is likely to happen, to succeed or to be suitable Clothes are a safe bet as a present for a teenager.
    in safe hands, in the safe hands of somebody
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    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.
    being especially careful; taking no risks I took some extra cash just to be on the safe side. to be careful; to avoid risks Play safe—keep out of the sun in the middle of the day. (British English) very safe More Like ThisSimiles in idioms (as) bald as a coot, (as) blind as a bat, (as) bright as a button, (as) bold as brass, as busy as a bee, as clean as a whistle, (as) dead as a/​the dodo, (as) deaf as a post, (as) dull as ditchwater, (as) fit as a fiddle, as flat as a pancake, (as) good as gold, (as) mad as a hatter/​a March hare, (as) miserable/​ugly as sin, as old as the hills, (as) pleased as Punch, as pretty as a picture, (as) regular as clockwork, (as) quick as a flash, (as) safe as houses, (as) sound as a bell, (as) steady as a rock, (as) thick as two short planks, (as) tough as old bootsSee worksheet.
    safe in the knowledge that
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    confident because you know that something is true or will happen She went out safe in the knowledge that she looked fabulous.
    (especially British English) a person that you can trust to do a job well
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: safe