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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of unsafe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While his report outlined issues related to the virus across the three jails, Rottnek said the Division II facility, built in 1929 and also known as the Old Wayne County Jail, is unsafe for reasons beyond the coronavirus crisis. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Report detailing 'severe' disrepair at Wayne County jail struck from lawsuit," 3 July 2020 Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen expressed outrage about the situation, which caused Santos to feel unsafe in her own community, and that anyone would ever be made to fear for their safety in Groveland, according to a news release. Amanda Jackson, Melissa Alonso And Rebekah Riess, CNN, "Police are investigating after Black woman says she was followed by a man accusing her of suspicious behavior," 2 July 2020 Police in Massachusetts are investigating an incident in which a Black woman was followed by a white man in her own neighborhood and made to feel unsafe. NBC News, "Black woman followed, confronted by white man in her own neighborhood; police investigating," 2 July 2020 The move, advocates say, could exacerbate unsafe conditions by allowing homes to employ unqualified staff members. Areeba Shah, Washington Post, "Caregivers on the front lines in nursing homes risk health, safety during pandemic," 29 June 2020 Cuomo, a Democrat, pushed back on Sunday against criticisms that New York nursing homes were unsafe and that his coronavirus policies led to the deaths of thousands of residents. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Andrew Cuomo: Elderly New Yorkers 'safer' from coronavirus in nursing homes than in own homes," 28 June 2020 Madison's police union told city leaders in an email Wednesday the tactic of avoiding enforcement actions unless a projectile hit an officer left the Madison community unsafe as angry protests turned to destruction and violence. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Madison police rank-and-file and leaders differ on what their marching orders were during night of upheaval," 28 June 2020 Dennis Hoffman, an Arizona State University economics professor, said the tax credit won’t persuade those who feel unsafe to travel. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Arizona Republic, "Why Martha McSally wants the government to pay for your next vacation," 27 June 2020 After Berkowitz announced the potential order, several people lined up to give testimony against a mask mandate, saying that masks were unsafe and requiring their use infringed upon personal freedoms. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Mayor says Anchorage mask mandate is drafted and ready to issue if current virus case trends continue," 24 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of unsafe

1597, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unsafe

Time Traveler for unsafe

Time Traveler

The first known use of unsafe was in 1597

See more words from the same year

Statistics for unsafe

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unsafe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsafe. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unsafe


How to pronounce unsafe (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unsafe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsafe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!