Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

safe - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective     safe pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [never before noun] protected from being hurt, damaged, lost, stolen, etc.

    Will my car be safe if I park it on the street?

    safe from:

    It’s difficult to make airports safe from terrorist attacks.

    keep something safe:

    Make sure to keep your credit card safe.

    1. a.
      used about places and situations where you are protected from danger

      We live in a very safe neighborhood.

      a safe distance:

      We admired the bear and her cub from a safe distance.

  2. 2
    not likely to cause damage, injury, or harm

    Traveling by airplane is much safer than driving your own car.

    The area behind the fence is not considered to be safe.

    Is the ride safe enough for a 5-year-old?

  3. 3
    not damaged, hurt, or lost

    Rescuers found the children safe but scared inside the house.

    safe and sound (=not damaged or harmed at all):

    Everyone arrived safe and sound.

    safe return/arrival:

    They are demanding the release and safe return of the hostages.

  4. 4
    something that is safe does not involve a lot of risk

    Government bonds are a very safe investment.

  5. 5
    not likely to upset people or to cause disagreement

    Don’t mention the election to him; it’s not a safe subject.

  6. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    great; excellent: used to compliment someone on their appearance or their items of clothing

    Your shoes are so safe.

    Submitted by mihi from Bahamas on 19/08/2014
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play