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Inherited from Middle English savete, from Old French sauveté, from earlier salvetet, from Medieval Latin salvitās, salvitātem, from Latin salvus.


  • IPA(key): /ˈseɪfti/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪfti



safety (countable and uncountable, plural safeties)

  1. The condition or feeling of being safe; security; certainty.
    If you push it to the limit, safety is not guaranteed.
    • 2016 May 15, chapter 911, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 12, John Oliver (actor), via HBO:
      Oh, oh! “Go to safety”! Why didn’t I think of that⁉ Here I am in danger when, really, I could simply be going to safety! I shouldn’t have wasted your time by calling in the first place!
  2. (mechanics) A mechanism on a weapon or dangerous equipment designed to prevent accidental firing.
    Be sure that the safety is set before proceeding.
  3. (American football) An instance of a player being sacked or tackled in the end zone, or stepping out of the end zone and off the field, resulting in two points to the opposite team.
    He sacked the quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
  4. (American football) Any of the defensive players who are in position furthest from the line of scrimmage and whose responsibility is to defend against passes as well as to be the tacklers of last resort.
    The free safety made a game-saving tackle on the runner who had broken past the linebackers.
  5. (baseball) A safety squeeze.
    • 1952, Bernard Malamud, The Natural[1], Time Life Books, published 1966, page 225:
      Boy wondered about that bunt. He had a notion Fowler would commit himself soon because time was on the go. But Fowler didn’t, making it another sweep of three Pirates. He had thus far given up only two safeties.
  6. Preservation from escape; close custody.
  7. (dated) A safety bicycle.
    • 1897, American Architect and Architecture, volumes 57-58, page 51:
      Many wheelmen and wheelwomen, riding safeties, tandems and tricycles, stopped there during the evening and we had good opportunity for comparing American and English bicycles []



Derived terms



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also




safety (third-person singular simple present safeties, present participle safetying, simple past and past participle safetied)

  1. (transitive) To secure (a mechanical component, as in aviation) to keep it from becoming detached even under vibration.
  2. to secure a firing pin, as in guns, to keep the gun from firing
    • 2011, Time Crime, page 92[2]:
      Time went back to normal for him; he safetied his own weapon and dropped it, jumping forward.
    • 2012, Blowout, page 343[3]:
      Osborne lay propped up on one elbow, his pistol cocked, his aim wavering in the general direction the man had gone. Finally he safetied it, stuffed it in the holster on his right hip, and reached for his cell phone in his jacket pocket. But it was gone.