safe·​ty | \ ˈsāf-tē How to pronounce safety (audio) \
plural safeties

Definition of safety

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss
2 : a device (as on a weapon or a machine) designed to prevent inadvertent or hazardous operation
3a(1) : a situation in football in which a member of the offensive team is tackled behind its own goal line that counts two points for the defensive team — compare touchback
(2) : a member of a defensive backfield in football who occupies the deepest position in order to receive a kick, defend against a forward pass, or stop a ballcarrier
b : a billiard shot made with no attempt to score or so as to leave the balls in an unfavorable position for the opponent


safetied; safetying

Definition of safety (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to protect against failure, breakage, or accident safety a rifle

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Synonyms & Antonyms for safety

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of safety in a Sentence

Noun The changes were made in the interest of public safety. He made some suggestions about how to improve airline safety. I'm worried about the safety of the people who were left behind. We were reluctant to leave the relative safety of our hotel. She was only a mile from the safety of her home when the accident occurred. The car has been redesigned for improved safety. The toys are inspected for safety. They were led to safety by the rescuers. The injured hiker was finally able to reach safety.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Behavior that threatened or injured the health and safety of the employee or of others. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "LMPD has moved to fire Brett Hankison after Breonna Taylor's death. Here's what comes next," 21 June 2020 As Americans continue to re-enter public life this summer, the US Centers for Disease Control laid out recommendations for safety at the beach on Thursday. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "California makes face coverings mandatory outside the home," 19 June 2020 Implement a budget process for public safety that involves residents. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "More mental health help and resident input on police spending are among recommendations to reform policing in Phoenix," 18 June 2020 For safety, parts were removed and placed on a table. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Nikola, Maker of Upcoming Badger Pickup, Angry at Bloomberg for Critical Article on Its Semi," 18 June 2020 Though learning decisions are largely left to the districts for the fall, the section in HB 164 is intended to make sure districts have a back-up plan if schools are closed for safety again, Ohio Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner said. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Ohio school districts should notify state of remote learning plan, but it’s complicated," 17 June 2020 It is recommended that graduates wear comfortable clothing with pockets to keep keys and cell phones as well as flat shoes for safety while walking on the Legacy Stadium turf. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "In-person Katy ISD graduation ceremonies begin today," 17 June 2020 In an op-ed for Crain’s New York Friday, the Police Benevolent Association of New York City President Patrick Lynch wrote that there is a disconnect between the calls for change and the need for public safety. Washington Examiner, "Cuomo signs bills to ban police chokeholds, allow review of police discipline records," 15 June 2020 Also at issue is a request for cities to obtain a permit from the State Fire Marshall’s office that includes a plan for safety. al, "Red, White and Poof: Alabama’s July 4th firework shows fizzle due to coronavirus," 14 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To make matters worse, most supermarket workers say customers aren't adhering to safety precautions, the union says. Mj Slaby, Indianapolis Star, "Kroger now requiring employees to wear face masks," 26 Apr. 2020 To make matters worse, most supermarket workers say customers aren't adhering to safety precautions, the union says. Mj Slaby, Indianapolis Star, "Kroger now requiring employees to wear face masks," 26 Apr. 2020 To make matters worse, most supermarket workers say customers aren't adhering to safety precautions, the union says. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 claims lives of 30 grocery store workers, thousands more may have it, union says," 15 Apr. 2020 Rams safety Taylor Rapp goes through a training camp practice. Los Angeles Times, "John Johnson, Taylor Rapp are starters, but Rams need to find safety depth in NFL draft," 10 Apr. 2020 Burkhead was on his way to a big gain off a screen pass when Bills safety Jordan Poyer caught him from behind and stripped the ball., "Rex Burkhead atoned for his fumble — by scoring the winning touchdown - The Boston Globe," 22 Dec. 2019 Winfield, who had seven interceptions last season, is a crafty defender who is versatile enough to play either safety position or in the slot. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Antoine Winfield Jr., son of former Pro Bowl cornerback, wants to make name for himself at NFL combine," 29 Feb. 2020 In Mallacoota, a coastal town in Victoria state, the Australian Navy on Friday began ferrying to safety some of the 4,000 people trapped there when flames cut off all escape routes on land. Jamie Tarabay, New York Times, "‘It’s Going to Be a Blast Furnace’: Australia Fires Intensify," 2 Jan. 2020 The positive gain was short lived as Bills safety Jordan Poyer forced a fumble on the Patriots running back and ran back 31 yards to give the Bills solid field position. Mark Daniels, USA TODAY, "New England Patriots overcome Buffalo Bills to win AFC East for record 11th consecutive season," 21 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'safety.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of safety


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1916, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for safety


Middle English saufte, from Anglo-French salveté, saufté, from salf safe

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Time Traveler for safety

Time Traveler

The first known use of safety was in the 14th century

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Statistics for safety

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Safety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for safety


How to pronounce safety (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of safety

: freedom from harm or danger : the state of being safe
: the state of not being dangerous or harmful
: a place that is free from harm or danger : a safe place


safe·​ty | \ ˈsāf-tē How to pronounce safety (audio) \

Kids Definition of safety

: freedom from danger or harm : the state of being safe

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Comments on safety

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