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
c : base hit


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 More than two weeks after Florida halted administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to safety concerns, 24,900 doses will be shipped throughout the state next week. David Schutz,, "Florida expects 305,931 COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, including some Johnson & Johnson shots. Here’s where they’ll go," 30 Apr. 2021 More recently, however, the vaccine has experienced a rocky world-wide rollout amid safety concerns and production challenges. Matt Grossman, WSJ, "Shares of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Startup Trade Down in Debut," 30 Apr. 2021 Zamudio’s membership in the Defend East County Facebook group, coupled with his own threats of violence on social media, has also reinforced public safety concerns posed by vigilante groups that sprang up to oppose Black Lives Matter. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "FBI: A San Diego man’s phone leads to extremist group and Georgia sheriff’s deputy," 30 Apr. 2021 Peloton issued voluntary recalls for both of its treadmills on Wednesday over safety concerns. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Peloton just recalled its treadmills following the death of a child," 5 May 2021 In a letter this week, health inspectors noted that the bar/restaurant has a history of noncompliance with COVID-19 safety concerns. Fox News, "Seattle bar's repeated COVID-19 violations lead to shut down," 5 May 2021 The amusement park is competing with would-be job applicants' extended unemployment benefits, continued COVID-19 safety concerns and child care responsibilities that have been thrust upon parents with remote schooling. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Resorts and theme parks face worker shortage as they open for summer," 5 May 2021 And the mine shaft’s proximity to a road prompted public safety concerns. Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Orange water was flowing from a century-old gold mine in Utah. Here’s who paid to clean it up.," 5 May 2021 Due to safety concerns, the pursuit was terminated. John Benson, cleveland, "Drunk Parma Heights man cited for walking through neighborhood back yards: Parma Heights Police Blotter," 5 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Shouldn't safety technology have the opposite effect on falls? ➡ Join Pop Mech Pro to get exclusive home renovation advice from experts and step-by-step plans for DIY projects. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Construction Workers Take More Risks When They Feel Safe—and Still Get Hurt," 26 Apr. 2021 The team is reviewing options including a traditional indoor event at an area hotel or an outdoor event should safety protocols warrant. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, "Here’s what Carroll ISD has planned for graduation, prom," 2 Apr. 2021 Lawmakers put on gas masks and crawled under seats before officers whisked them to safety out the back door without a moment to spare. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Few hearts broken in Bay Area over impeachment of Trump," 13 Jan. 2021 His third-attempt from his own end zone deflected off wide receiver Phat Watts to safety Christian Swint, who returned it to the 8. G Smith,, "Mashed Potato: Short-handed Tulane falls 38-27 to Nevada in bowl game," 22 Dec. 2020 Among the primary New England defenders trying to stop Ekeler will be safety Adrian Phillips, who spent his first six NFL seasons with the Chargers. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Chargers’ Austin Ekeler feels healthy, but his left leg still isn’t right," 4 Dec. 2020 Talbot said their hope is that the maze can be a place where families can safety enjoy outdoor family time, just to feel some kind of sense of normalcy, especially through the pandemic. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball Corn Maze offers 'sense of community' amid COVID-19 pandemic," 6 Oct. 2020 After an hour-long rescue involving three ropes, firefighters brought the man and his son to safety around 11:30 a.m., according to the San Francisco Chronicle and KGO-TV. Rachel Desantis,, "Father and Toddler Son Rescued After Becoming Stuck on Calif. Cliff While Hiking," 21 Sep. 2020 There are dangerous blind spots, gaps in logic and safety the size of the Ohio State offensive line, but nobody wants to hear that. Gregg Doyel, The Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Big Ten football is back; it makes all the sense in the world – and no sense at all," 16 Sep. 2020

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Safety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for safety



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

Comments on safety

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