un·​safe | \ ˌən-ˈsāf How to pronounce unsafe (audio) \
unsafer; unsafest

Definition of unsafe

: not safe: such as
a : able or likely to cause harm, damage, or loss water that is unsafe to drink unsafe driving habits unsafe levels of lead
b : not giving protection from danger, harm, or loss an unsafe vehicle unsafe working conditions
c : not protected from danger, harm, or loss feeling frightened and unsafe
d : likely to take risks : not careful unsafe drivers

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Examples of unsafe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The state has ordered the closure of the Blue Spiral Waterslide at Torzewski County Park in Lapeer because its stairs are unsafe. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Summer bummer: Lapeer water slide ordered closed for safety violation," 8 July 2019 Washington Seattle: Most of the 222 school buildings that officials examined across the state would be unsafe to occupy after powerful earthquakes. USA TODAY, "Kacey Musgraves, sneaker flap, skiing in July: News from around our 50 states," 3 July 2019 CBS News spoke Tuesday with César Duverany, a spokesperson for the Dominican Republic's foreign ministry, who said the cases are isolated out of more than 6 million tourists, and that this doesn't mean the country is unsafe. Brian Pascus, CBS News, "What we know about American tourists' deaths and illnesses in the Dominican Republic," 30 June 2019 About 10 years ago the surf contest was canceled because of an oil spill, and lifeguards said the water was unsafe. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Surf, jousting and rock ‘n’ roll: Switchfoot’s Bro-Am festival celebrates 15 years," 29 June 2019 More than half the tracks across CAR (there are only a handful of metaled roads) are unsafe; there were 396 attacks on aid workers in 2018. Sebastian Shukla, Tim Lister And Clarissa Ward, CNN, "The forgotten crisis that has displaced 1.2 million people," 27 June 2019 Generally speaking, industries are held liable when their products are unsafe when used lawfully and responsibly, a car airbag that launches shrapnel upon impact due to a faulty canister design, for example. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Rep. Crow’s gun liability law makes a mockery of personal responsibility," 17 June 2019 All the houses had come before the board of works for various violations a number of times in the past and are considered to be unsafe. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "Bids awarded to raze five Hobart homes," 6 June 2019 José Adércio Leite Sampaio, the prosecutor heading the probe, said investigators have gathered enough evidence to affirm that Vale employees directly involved in the operation of the mine knew the dam was unsafe. Samantha Pearson, WSJ, "Brazil Plans to Charge Vale Over Deadly Dam Collapse," 10 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unsafe.' 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 unsafe

1597, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for unsafe

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unsafe

The first known use of unsafe was in 1597

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More Definitions for unsafe



English Language Learners Definition of unsafe

: able or likely to cause harm, damage, or loss
: not giving protection from danger, harm, or loss
: not protected from danger, harm, or loss


un·​safe | \ ˌən-ˈsāf\

Kids Definition of unsafe

: exposed or exposing to danger People are unsafe on the streets. The bridge is unsafe for heavy trucks.

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More from Merriam-Webster on unsafe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unsafe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsafe

Spanish Central: Translation of unsafe

Nglish: Translation of unsafe for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unsafe

What made you want to look up unsafe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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