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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Residents who addressed the council repeatedly emphasized their concerns about public safety if there were to be a spill or some other kind of accident with the chemicals stored there. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 May 2022 During the campaign, all three candidates expressed interest in education, public safety and issues surrounding gender and sexuality. Brittany Carloni, The Indianapolis Star, 4 May 2022 The language of the ordinance said funds from the sales tax increase can only be used for streets, sidewalks, drainage, public safety and parks and recreation. Neal Earley, Arkansas Online, 4 May 2022 Providers have also faced threats to public safety and difficulty simply finding staff. New York Times, 3 May 2022 Psychological safety is the glue that holds the other elements together—all four should contribute to it. Robin Elledge, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Other commissioners agreed with Avalos, but argued reckless driving was a pressing public safety issue that deserved such an enforcement tool. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 May 2022 Morrisey O’Donnell: Public safety is a top concern for people across our community. oregonlive, 2 May 2022 When Professor Abdullah ignored requests to leave, she was removed from the building by public safety officers and immediately released. Julia Wickstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Or safety Bennett Williams or center Alex Forsyth (for the third straight game). John Canzano, oregonlive, 24 Oct. 2021 David published a great paper in Nature late last year showing that in mice Yamanaka gene therapy can safety reprogram the epigenome of the retina and restore vision in a mouse model of glaucoma. Alex Zhavoronkov, Forbes, 14 June 2021 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, 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, 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,, 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,, 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, 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, 6 Oct. 2020 See More

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.

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 2022

Cite this Entry

“Safety.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for safety


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

Kids Definition of safety

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

More from Merriam-Webster on safety

Nglish: Translation of safety for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of safety for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about safety


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