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 Kaminsky, once a starter, hadn't played since March 19 before missing four games from March 30 to April 5 under the league's health and safety protocols. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Look back at second-half blitz of Washington Wizards, ahead to facing Houston Rockets," 12 Apr. 2021 Instead, Republicans used the money as leverage in their ongoing efforts to limit executive and state department authority to issue COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Whitmer invites GOP-led Legislature 'to the table' to discuss distributing COVID-19 funds," 12 Apr. 2021 That tension between health and safety and business survival has run through every day of the pandemic, exasperated by insufficient or late government aid that forced people to choose between the two. Binghui Huang, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis and the NCAA meticulously planned March Madness. Except for the workers.," 11 Apr. 2021 If there are areas in the health and safety of players where the NCAA is lacking, they should be called out strongly. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: The NCAA's mishandling of the women's basketball tournament has bled into complaints about volleyball," 10 Apr. 2021 Tim Bannon, an independent journalist, is examining health and safety issues surrounding the growing youth sports industry during a nine-month O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University. Rory Linnane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Michigan is overwhelmed by another COVID-19 surge, this one driven by young people. Is Wisconsin next?," 10 Apr. 2021 Center Willie Cauley-Stein, who has been out since March 18 while on the health and safety protcols list, is probable for Sunday’s game. Dallas News, "Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein probable to return vs. Spurs," 10 Apr. 2021 Some organizations are wisely starting from scratch to create a sanctuary where ideas, learning, social interaction, innovation and productivity can coexist with safety and comfort. Edward Tuorinsky, Forbes, "What To Look For In An Office For The Next Normal," 9 Apr. 2021 Shark Tank Hopefuls pitch a product for slicing cheese and a beauty product that combines luxury and glamour with safety and quality. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘MacGyver’ on CBS; Masters Tournament," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 This season finally would give Long an opportunity to show his skills after being blocked at cornerback and safety his first three seasons. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football's Dominique Long stays fluid, waits for his chance at CB," 5 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

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Safety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 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

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Comments on safety

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