safe, adj. (and int.)
α. Middle English saauf, Middle English sauff, Middle English sauue, Middle English sawf, Middle English sowfe, Middle English–1500s sauf, Middle English–1500s saufe, Middle English–1500s sauffe; Scottish pre-1700 saufe, pre-1700 sauff, pre-1700 sauffe, pre-1700 sauve, pre-1700 sawf, pre-1700 sawff, pre-1700 sawffe, pre-1700 1900s– sauf.
β. Middle English saafe, Middle English saaff, Middle English saff, Middle English saue, Middle English–1500s saaf, Middle English–1500s saf, Middle English–1500s save, Middle English–1600s saffe, Middle English– safe, late Middle English saak (transmission error), late Middle English seyue; English regional 1800s saaf (Yorkshire), 1800s saf (Devon), 1800s sef (Lancashire), 1800s syaf (north-eastern), 1800s– saafe (Lincolnshire), 1800s– seaf (northern), 1800s– seaff (northern), 1800s– seeaf (Yorkshire), 1800s– zaff (Devon); Scottish pre-1700 saaf, pre-1700 saf, pre-1700 saff, pre-1700 saffe, pre-1700 saue, pre-1700 save, pre-1700 sawe, pre-1700 seaff, pre-1700 1700s– safe.
γ. Middle English–1600s saif, Middle English–1600s sayfe, 1500s sailf, 1500s–1600s saife, 1500s–1600s saiffe, 1600s saiff, 1800s– zaayfe (English regional (Berkshire)); Scottish pre-1700 saif, pre-1700 saife, pre-1700 saiff, pre-1700 saiffe, pre-1700 sailf, pre-1700 saiv, pre-1700 sayf.
δ. Middle English–1500s salue, Middle English–1500s saulf, Middle English–1600s salf, Middle English–1600s salfe, Middle English–1600s salve, late Middle English self (perhaps transmission error), 1500s–1600s salffe, 1500s–1600s saulfe; Scottish pre-1700 salf, pre-1700 salfe, pre-1700 salue, pre-1700 salve, pre-1700 saulf, pre-1700 saulfe, pre-1700 saulff. (Show Less)
Origin: A borrowing from French. Etymons: French salf, salve.
< Anglo-Norman salf
, Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French sauf
, Old French saf
, Middle French saulf
(feminine Anglo-Norman and Old French salve
, Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French sauve
, Middle French saulve
; French sauf
)) saved, who has attained eternal salvation (end of the 10th cent.), intact, unharmed (1130–40), in good health (1155), (of a place) secure, not dangerous (13th cent.) < classical Latin salvus
(of persons) secure, unharmed, unimpaired in health, still alive or existing, immune from punishment, (of a country) secure, unharmed, (of circumstances) in a good or sound state, well, (of things) intact, undamaged, surviving, extant, still holding good, in post-classical Latin also saved (in a Christian sense) (Vulgate), possessing rights of sanctuary (10th cent.) < the same Indo-European base (though with different vocalism) as ancient Greek ὅλος
) whole, Sanskrit sarva
all, whole. (The same base without the suffix is seen in Old Latin sollus
whole. The zero grade of classical Latin salvus
is also seen in classical Latin salūt-
Compare , , and see discussion at that entry.
Compare Old Occitan salv
, Catalan salva
(1399), Spanish salvo
(mid 10th cent.), Portuguese salvo
(13th cent), Italian salvo
after Anglo-Norman and Middle French sauf et seur
(1215 or earlier); with
compare Anglo-Norman seur et sauf
(14th cent. or earlier); with
more generally and with
compare also Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French sain et sauf
1138), Italian sano e salvo
(1353), classical Latin sānus et salvus
, salvus sānus
, classical Latin salvus et sospes
, safe vouch
Free from hurt or damage; unharmed.
c1450 C. d'Orleans
He may attayne the ioyfulle port In self passage.
1531 Bp. W. Barlow sig. D2
Wee haue sore longyd for your safe retorne hopynge to here some newes from oure euangelyke brotherne of Germany.
1625–6 S. Purchas II. 1165
And he sent me word that he was very glad with my safe arrival.
1658 T. Bromhall i. 80
He promised that they should have a safe journey.
1704 J. Locke Let. 27 June in H. R. F. Bourne
I hope..that I may congratulate your safe return, strong and trig as you were before.
(Lords Commissioners of Appeals in Prize Causes)
One Case..which I promise to reliver, if God grant me a safe Voyage.
1872 8 317/1
The king had given him an escort of 100 horsemen to clear the road of Baktiaris; so the rest of my journey was quite safe.
1901 D. A. Tompkins 39
The wagon cover often required patching and the carpenter and smith must..do such other repairs as seemed to them necessary to insure a safe trip.
The best bit for me is being mid-ocean, with just the suggestion of being ‘lost’ troubling my mind but nevertheless holding fast to my belief in a safe arrival.
Free from danger; secure.
a1393 J. Gower
vii. l. 2029 (MED)
That he mesure in his expence So kepe, that of indigence He mai be sauf.
?1440 tr. Palladius
i. l. 973 (MED)
Al the lond that thou hast goon aboute ffro cloudis wicke is saaf [c1450 Bodl. saue].
?1440 tr. Palladius
i. l. 982 (MED)
Thy seedis with cucumber rotis grounde Let stepe, and saaf of euery mys they are.
1535 Job xxi. 9
Their houses are safe from all feare.
1573 E. Dering sig. F.ii
We should not then neede many exhortations, the remembraunce of the latter end would keepe vs safe from syn.
1577 B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach i. f. 33
Yf they be steeped in Capons blood, they wyll be safe from all hurtfull weedes.
1658 T. Bromhall 182
When Caesar saw this, he ran to him, embraced him, and told him what his danger was; promising him, for that he knew it, he should be safe of it.
a1681 H. Burton
I. ii. 214
He flatters himself as if he were safe from his Sin, when he is fast held in the Bonds of Iniquity.
1697 J. Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vii, in tr. Virgil 432
Where then he liv'd obscure, but safe from Jove.
1801 5 403
That a person once infected with the small-pox is safe from having it a second time.
1867 G. MacDonald I. v. 110
I did not feel safe from him till I was once more in my study.
1891 H. B. Harris ii. 14
The hermits..petitioned him to build them a house where they might be safe from the incursions of the Arabs.
1920 G. W. James xvi. 267
Under the teaching and guidance of Mother Church they were safe from damnation, here and hereafter.
When I turn up the little trick cuffs, my stockings are as safe from spatters as if they stayed in the drawer.
1961 J. Stubblefield
Shut up within its shell or exoskeleton a brachiopod is comparatively safe from enemies.
1999 M. J. Clark
Safe from the curious stares of the eyes below,..there was privacy in the Churchill's skybox.
1536 T. Cromwell in R. B. Merriman
To kepe the same Offeley in your salve custodye.
a1616 W. Shakespeare
i. vi. 193
And I am something curious, being strange To haue them in safe stowage .
1651 T. Hobbes ii. xxviii. 164
The safe custody of a man accused.
1701 S. Hill vii. lii. 327
He desires him to send the Bishops..under safe Custody to the Emperour.
1849 T. B. Macaulay II. viii. 357
A warrant..directing the Lieutenant of the Tower to keep them [sc. seven Bishops] in safe custody.
1896 37 371
The object of the Act and of any plan of loading is the same, i.e., safe stowage.
1904 J. A. Meelboom & C. F. Hannaford
A bank has no general lien on securities deposited for safe custody only.
1945 M. Heuvelmans 58
Safe stowage and despatch are..closely interwoven with the problem of weight distribution.
2002 J. Cerone in M. Bothe & B. Kondoch 7 55
Women are reportedly placed in ‘safe-custody’ on a judge's approval of a police application.
1636 W. Sampson iii. iii. sig. F3
Monlucke..Desires safe convoy by your honours forces.
1647 N. Bacon 61
This priviledge of safe passe being..ancient and fundamentall,..resteth still in force.
1649 O. Cromwell Let. 24 Nov. in
III. App. xv. 344
I have by this Bearer returned a Safe-convoy, as you desire, for what Commissioners you think fit to send out to me.
c1665 L. Hutchinson
Major Cartwright sent a letter desiring the governor or his brother to come and meete him in St. Nicholas Church, and promised them safe passage and returne.
1810 S. T. Coleridge
Charles V had pronounced the ban upon him [sc. Luther] and limited his safe convoy to one and twenty days.
1917 8 Aug. 534/1
The other object, safe passage for Italian ships in the Adriatic, is obstructed by the strategic advantages of Austria.
1921 W. S. Sims in
(Comm. Naval Affairs, U.S. Senate)
Assisting in the safe and prompt dispatch of troops and supplies to France, and safe convoy out of France.
1996 P. I. Kaufman v. 107
Some threads from a cloth covering the coffin..were to be his safe convoy into and defense..against the rough-and-tumble of the Touraine factions and feuds.
2003 C. Rubenberg iii. 116
The immediate creation of a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza to enable Palestinians to pass through Israeli territory.
Certain to happen or be the case (esp. with reference to the outcome of a contest, examination, selection process, etc.).
1790 F. Grose
‘He is safe enough for being hanged.’ Cumb.
1825 22 Sept. 2/6
He was put down as safe to win, the others being entirely out of the question.
1860 G. J. Whyte-Melville 107
He'll win it, as safe as safe!
1865 F. Oakeley 46
If..you had happened to enter any common-room in Oxford..you would have been safe to hear some ten or twenty voices eloquent on the subject of Tract 90.
1874 G. J. Whyte-Melville I. viii. 225
The foreign horse was safe to win the Two Thousand.
1882 B. M. Croker i. vii. 137
‘I am sure a man never sent it,’ said Helen. ‘I'm sorry to say it of my own sex, but it's safe to be a woman’.
1901 K. M. Caffyn xxiv. 271
Even should he miss a bishopric, he's safe to be a dean.
1953 12 May 9/6
Miss Connolly looked safe to win comfortably after taking the first set and leading 3–0 in the second.
1987 T. Clark Bed at Tor House in 23
He waited by the sea safe to finish what he had to finish.
1859 T. Hughes in Dec. 91/2
He'll be a safe first, though I don't believe he reads more than you or I.
1875 M. E. Braddon II. x. 151
They say he's dipped deeply in this Bolivian business, and that it's a safe thing.
1892 3 Dec. 774/2
He was a safe First in History, and hot favourite for the Lothian.
1900 W. E. W. Collins viii. 118
It by no means followed as a matter of course that a scholarship at St Hilary's implied a safe first in Moderations.
1913 E. Wharton xxxiv. 453
Her manifest ignorance of business methods had the effect of making his vagueness appear less vague. ‘Anyhow, he seems to be sure it's a safe thing.’
‘He is a safe second’, i.e. he is sure to obtain second-class honours.
1577 H. I. tr. H. Bullinger II. iii. Ep. Ded. sig. Aa.vv
This doctrine at all times, & in all pointes agreeable to it selfe is safest to be followed.
1589 R. Lane in R. Hakluyt 740
Thus much I signified vnto them, as the safest way: neuerthelesse, I did referre it to the greatest number of voyces, whether we should aduenture thes pending of our whole victuall..or otherwise to retyre our selues backe againe.
1625 F. Bacon
An Embleme, no doubt, to shew, how safe it is for Monarchs, to make sure of the good Will of Common People.
1651 T. Hobbes ii. xxvii. 151
It is safer to erre on that hand, than on the other.
1720 D. Defoe 45
'Tis never safe to despise an Enemy.
a1745 J. Swift On Death of Mrs. Johnson in
Perhaps, she was sometimes too severe, which is a safe and pardonable error.
1791 W. Cowper tr. Homer Odyssey in II. xxiii. 150
To me the safest counsel and the best.
1851 W. Bolland v. 87
The safest plan is to stipulate..that the disputed man shall not be put on at either end—as a doubtful bowler should never be permitted.
1863 W. Phillips xi. 254
This is Choate, who made it safe to murder.
1919 M. C. Stopes 14
Some men like to use a sheath, and this is quite a safe method.
1973 Spring 4/3
We believe it is safer not to encourage more backpacking until we know more about the impact that the increased numbers are now having.
2001 P. Duncan i. 19
Supper had to be a hot meal, and breakfast-for-supper was the easiest and safest thing to make.
1830 Dec. 523/1
Whilst all that he did showed the most admirable sense and judgment, he never said a word that rose above the level of the merest common-place, vapid, inoffensive, dull, and safe.
1896 E. W. Donald v. 245
There is no art, no poetry, no outlook, no vision, and ambition is dead. A safe, unenterprising, material prosperity of low degree is all that the oldest and most successful of our communistic communities can show.
1901 6 July 35/2
The author is rather safe than striking, and he has nothing new to say concerning the history of ancient philosophy.
1988 25 Mar. e11
The air of contrivance..makes them a bore to look at. They look uninspired and artistically safe whether you regard them as abstract, figurative or architectural.
2004 E. Vincentelli 37
Beginning a greatest-hits collection with the best-known song is satisfying, sure, but also a bit safe.
1608 Bp. J. Hall I. i. iv. 30
I thinke it safe to say, that seldome euer those yeares haue promised, seldom haue performed so much.
1642 R. Baker tr. V. Malvezzi xxxix. 403
I cannot but account my assertion safe; having Aristotle, Plato, and Pythagoras of my side.
a1749 B. Holme
ix. Pref. 122
I hope I may be safe in saying, all Signs end in their Substance.
1795 H. Cowley iii. ii. 43
I am safe in saying that, for I am sure Lady Horatia will not marry a beggar.
1814 20 Aug. 418/2
At any rate, it is safe to say that the states and districts first named, have that distance of water communication.
1840 Apr. 296
We are surely safe in presuming that our readers are well acquainted with the vigour of intellect, and the deep and scriptural piety which characterize this great man's writings.
1884 18 Feb. 5/2
One is perfectly safe in saying that the position of the defendants has relatively improved.
1905 Aug. 236
It is a safe assumption that the thicker the paint film, the less its permeability.
1944 A. Huxley 9 July
One can be safe in betting that, within ten years, there will be rockets, or jet-propelled flying bombs,..capable of flying any distance up to five thousand miles.
1978 W. F. Buckley xx. 200
I would still think it safe to assume you would not be questioned during the day.
2001 D. L. Schlinder iv. 145
I begin with the general—and apparently safe—assertion that the critical methods and scholarship of the contemporary academy..are not neutral.
2008 T. F. Madden vi. 135
It is safe to say..that by 188 bc the Greek world knew all about the Romans.
1645 E. Pagitt 99
If I crucifie the flesh in my owne strength, it is no safe evidence of my being in Christ.
1701 W. Mather 74
In a Controversie of such Moment, presumptive Evidence is neither safe, nor satisfactory to either side.
1778 46 388
Whether bears and martins were met with on both sides of the equator, our author cannot assert on any safe and authentic evidence.
1814 Dec. 489
The Argonautic expedition might be deemed the only safe example of perfect navigation.
1888 J. Rickaby iv. 59
It borrows, to exemplify its teaching, only safe instances.
1922 J. W. H. Atkins in 129
Since the beginning of the 11th century the form were (for wer (nom.)) frequently occurs, and after 1200 no safe case of wer is found.
1931 221 8
No one criterion is a safe basis for the determination of retrogressive metamorphism.
1980 C. Hill iii. 27
He prudently used the safe example of Athens to argue that conquests are best made by a popular government.
2010 F. von Mengden i. 61
We will have to go far back into reconstructed stages of a language—a historical distance which does not always provide safe evidence.
1788 J. Priestley i. i. 14
For want of acquaintance with history, we are apt to pronounce a priori many things to be impossible, which in fact really exist, and are very safe.
1795 Z. Swift II. iv. xvii. 186
This leads to a train if probable and presumptive proof, upon which a conviction may be very safe.
1846 Chron. 30/1
The wretched woman was acquitted, the evidence of the elder child, on account of the tenderness of her age, not being deemed safe for a capital conviction.
1869 6 Mar. 4/6
The evidence fell short of that degree of proof that would render a conviction safe.
1944 6 July 1/5
I do not think such a conviction would be a safe conviction.
1967 51 25
Do his replies to the police..amount to a sufficiently safe and satisfactory case?
On both occasions the convictions were found to be safe and satisfactory.
18 Aug. 11
He has..withdrawn his appeal against conviction. So we have to read into it that this was a fair trial and the verdict was safe.
P1. safe and sound
(also occasionally †sound and safe
l. 2816 (MED)
Þei were gretli glad..þat he sauf was & sou[n]d fro þe men a-schaped.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
II. xvii. cii. 994
Dede bodies ben ykepte saue and sounde whanne þey ben ybawmed wiþ confecciouns of mirra.
l. 7867 (MED)
Sauf and sond ai mot þou be To all þe folk es vnder þe.
And soo he ȝede sonde and saf hys way.
1585 T. Washington tr. N. de Nicolay ii. ix. 42 b
[He] was by a Dolphin brought safe and sound to the porte.
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 635
Gobanivm,..keeping the ancient name, as it were, safe and sound is tearmed Aber-Gevenny.
1703 M. Martin 79
It is lawful for any of the Inhabitants to steal his Neighbours Horse the Night before the race,..provided he deliver him safe and sound to the Owner after the race.
1849 G. Grote VI. ii. l. 327
He would again replace him ‘safe and sound’ in the fortification.
1890 tr. C. Letourneau ii. xii. 182
The actinia devoured by a larger individual..is often revomited safe and sound.
1937 L. Jones vi. 85
There be no man or devil..can shift me from by here until I see my James safe and sound.
2000 ‘L. Child’ xiv. 160
As far as Reacher knew, you were still right here in town... He doesn't know you're safe and sound in London.
l. 868 (MED)
He was al sauf & sound of alle his sor greues.
‘Thoru þe,’ he said, ‘sal þis mesele, Be sauf and sund of al vn-hele.’
1837 Dec. 674/1
I will neither eat nor drink till I hear what the doctor will say about her... May Jasus guard her, and spare her safe and sound to us.
1911 W. C. Gorgas in R. L. Owen v. 241
If a man exposed to yellow fever..passed through six days safe and sound he was known to have escaped that particular exposure.
2002 Nov. 45
Safe and Sound. Avoid the risks of HRT with these natural alternatives.
1848 Oct. 460/2
He caught the up-train, he arrived safe and sound in town.
1882 G. A. Sala
I was safe and sound in the Brevoort coach.
1887 Dec. 197/2
I promised to bring you both to lunch, safe and sound.
1913 N. Munro in 3 Mar. 2/5
‘Never mind aboot that the noo,’ said Erchie; ‘the aerial squadron from Farnborough for Montrose..landed safe and sound on Thursday last.’
1998 P. Theroux tr. I. Ali iii. iii. 98
The train is gone... He'll arrive safe and sound tomorrow.
a1393 J. Gower
iv. l. 917
I mai wel with sauf conscience Excuse me of necgligence Towardes love in alle wise.
1549 H. Latimer sig. Di
The which treasure, if it be not sufficiente, he maye lawfullye and wyth a salue consience, take taxis of hys subiectes.
1560 J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane f. viv
To reuoke his sentence already taught and defended, he can not with a safe conscience [L. cum bona conscientia].
a1616 W. Shakespeare
i. i. 13
A Trade Sir, that I hope I may vse, with a safe Conscience .
1700 W. Congreve v. i. 73
So as long as it was not a Bible-Oath, we may break it with a safe Conscience.
1767 C. Smart tr. Horace Odes ii. iv, in tr. Horace
Her face, her limbs so form'd t'engage, I praise with a safe conscience still.
a1817 J. Austen
I. xiii. 231
Now we may all go to-morrow with a safe conscience .
1865 Jan. 61
Gregory XVI., as is well known, answered a formal inquiry by saying that Catholics might, with a perfectly safe conscience, assent to the Belgian constitution.
1918 J. C. Davies i. xii. 290
A conference was held..as to whether the lords could with safe conscience retain the lands of the Templars.
1985 26 Feb. 14/6
I can say with a safe conscience that..there will be no matching broadcasting services here, there, or anywhere, at 18p a day.
You can go abroad with a safe conscience.
a1393 J. Gower
ii. l. 2188 (MED)
So that thei mihten sauf and sone The water passe.
a1616 W. Shakespeare
i. i. 48
And soone, and safe, [she] arriued where I was.
1839 July 476/1
Soon and safe may you return, for the prayer of the fatherless and widow will be along wid yees.
1867 1 Oct. 626/2
You must leave your house and land..and go far away among the cold uncivil strangers. But you will come back safe and soon.
1917 Oct. 161/2
The war is..taking away many of our best physicians, surgeons, and specialists. May they all return soon and safe.
2005 in C. H. Cash viii. 164
I hope you all get back safe and soon. The whole country..depends on you our soldiers.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
II. xiv. iii. 697
Whan þe wylde bestes ben yhuntid with hunters in þe valeye, þey flee to þe monteins and ben þer syker and sauf.
l. 18201 (MED)
Off no-thing were thei a-dredde; Thei wende thei hadde ben saue & sure.
Saaf, and sekyr, salvus.
a1449 in S. A. Moore
Other thyng more of the saide cite ther to be kept stronge saf and sure.
1490 W. Caxton tr.
I shall lete you goo quyte & sauf.
?c1500 J. Blount tr. N. Upton
We geve & graunte by these present letters to gyles of vytrey knyght free lycence, salue & sure condute, [etc.].
1567 G. Turberville tr. Ovid f. 125
There may Leander make a safe and sicker stay.
1582 S. Batman 380
The Eagle dwelleth sure and safe in most high places.
1582 S. Batman 791
One of them [sc. the young scorpions] leapeth on the thigh of the Scorpionesse, and sitteth there safe & sure from the stinging of the taile.
1633 T. Stafford i. viii. 58
And his sonnes bound very safe and sure.
1715 C. Bullock iii
All's sure and safe, on with your Vizzard, Sir.
1878 Mrs. H. Wood in 24 201
We are all safe and sure, Caromel; not a hint shall escape us.
1960 21 June 11
Used by doctors, Larson's is safe and sure. Contains no drugs.
1570 T. Tusser
Drye Sunne or drye wynde..Safe binde and safe finde.
1718 M. Prior
Safe bind, Says the old Proverb, and Safe find.
1775 ii. 24
I have seen enough of the world to know the signfication of the words, Safe bind, safe find.
1841 1 Sept. 635/1
I do not know that I might not steal them myself, if they were not my own. Safe bind safe find, Master Morin... I never leave any one in my shop when I am out of it.
1938 H. F. M. Prescott x. 110
One of those who believe that they who safe bind, safe find. One lock, two bolts and a chain had to be dealt with.
1953 J. Coulson tr. F. Dostoevsky ii. iv. 130
It will be better if I keep the things: safe bind, safe find; and if something happens,..I can hand them in.
2005 A. Jaimoukha xvi. 243
Safe bind, safe find. Caution is the parent of safety.
1582 S. Gosson Ep. Ded. sig. A
I when I sleepe shall be as safe, as the childe in his cradle.
1639 J. Clarke 47
As safe as a mouse in a malt-heape.
1786 G. M. A. Baretti 222
So far, le Baron de Tolondrognac is as safe, as an escargot in his winter-shell.
1894 S. Baring-Gould 280
‘I feared all was gone.’ ‘It is safe as the Bank of England.’
1919 ‘K. Mansfield’ 26 Oct.
You simply must not worry about me. I am as safe as a rock.
2009 J. Kernan 246
Sebastian smiled, a rueful, cocky smile that made Michaela feel safe as a baby lion between its mother's paws.
a1815 W. Hutton
The doctor..said, ‘You are as safe as a bug in a rug’.
1878 E. B. Tuttle vi. 134
‘Heavenly Father! are we safe?’ ‘Safe as a bug in a rug,’ said Bond.
1906 W. Woods Billy the Kid in
VIII. iv. 245
No one ever comes this way and ye would be as safe as a bug in a rug as long as ye wanted to remain.
1928 H. Lauder xvii. 206
If yer name's on a shell or a bullet you'll get it an' if it's no yer as safe as a bug in a rug!
2006 C. Adair xv. 141
If she and her father hadn't had a falling-out, she'd be safe as a bug in a rug..in his hideaway in Matera right now.
1578 W. B. tr. Appian of Alexandria iii. 169
Diuers of the Captaynes promised him, that if he woulde come to them, they woulde see hym safe [Gk. φυλάξειν].
1633 W. Rowley i. sig. B1v
That shall be our care noble Iulianus, to see her safe, We love Iacinta more then you must know.
1664 v. ii. 77
Captain, to your care I do commit Maligno: see him safe, as you'll answer't.
1859 Let. 14 Apr. in S. F. Tower
I have a certain phalanx of friends who will see me safe if possible.
1889 R. L. Stevenson xii. 328
I will see you safe, if you be innocent.
1934 G. C. Faber
There are occasions when it is reasonable for a bookseller to ask that the publisher shall ‘see him safe’.
1962 M. Bonham-Carter in M. Asquith Introd. p. xviii
Acting on the assumption that his partners would see him safe.., he made out a cheque for £100,000 in his own name.
1992 7 Apr. 20/1
The service industries, the banks and the Barlow Clowes, the pizza parlours and the estate agencies would see us safe.
8 Apr. (Sport section) 6
Willett arrived on the 18th thinking a birdie would definitely see him safe, but he blasted it into the trees.
1597 W. Shakespeare ii. ii. 50
The banisht Bullingbrooke..with vplifted armes is safe ariude at Rauenspurgh.
a1616 W. Shakespeare
v. xi. 2
Mal. I would the Friends we misse, were safe arriu'd. Sey. Some must go off.
1686 J. Scott II. vii. 1245
They are safe arrived into each others Arms, never, never to be parted more.
1710 J. Swift 9 Sept.
I send this only to tell I am safe in London.
1781 in R. Putnam
Your favor of the 25, with the cow-thieves, arrived safe.
1847 C. Bronté Let. in
I am truly glad you are safe at home. Was not—delighted to see you?
1869 A. Hoggard Let. 30 Dec. in
I have arrived safe in Liberia, with all the emigrants in good health, except two of them.
1908 Aug. 605/1
Here I am safe in Flanders.
a1641 J. Smyth
He hath letters of safe come, safe goe, and safe staye for five dayes.
1645 J. Howell i. xiv. 25
Yours of the third of August, came to safe hand in an inclos'd from my Brother.
1650 J. Howell Addit. Lett. xviii. 30 in
Your last of the fourth current came to safe hand.
[1687 R. L'Estrange sig. a 4
I have some Right, Methinks,..to speak a Word or Two on the Safe Side of the Question.]
1719 J. Leng x. 317
I cannot see how we could reasonably advise a wise man to act otherwise than on the safe side.
1788 S. Low iv. iii. 51
It is a laudable imperfection, if I may be allowed the phrase;—it is erring on the safe side, for women's affairs are delicate things to meddle with, ladies.
1811 J. Austen III. iv. 78
Determining to be on the safe side, he made his apology in form as soon as he could say anything.
1847 F. Marryat I. xi. 207
Be on the safe side, and do not trust him too far.
1858 5 84
They should rather err on the safe side.
1893 R. S. Ball 307
For the sake of being on the safe side, I have taken the lowest value.
1921 R. W. Chapman 5
If in many cases the design was neither the best possible nor the most economical, the engineers at least generally erred on the safe side.
1994 Dec. 52/2
To be on the safe side, wrap duct tape around the joint where the pipe meets the thimble.
2006 S. Harrigan xxxii. 310
There had been some damage to one of the engines of the shuttle. Just to be on the safe side, it had come home early.
1732 C. O'Begly 592/1
I wish you safe home, go srojġṫe tú slán ċum dáruis [‘may you get safely to your home’].
1824 T. C. Croker xii. 223
If the traveller has to apprehend danger on his route, the expressions are more energetic, as ‘Safe home to you by the help of God’.
1847 Nov. 280
A civil ‘safe home, sir’, and a touch of the hat to myself, was sufficient evidence of good will and national courtesy.
1907 Sept. 45/1
Wade followed him to the edge of the clearing with his first sense of loneliness tugging within him. ‘Safe home to you, Mr. Ide,’ he said.
2000 M. Fletcher
‘I'll not hold yer back,’ he told me as I made to go. ‘Right yer be. Safe home.’
1874 16 July 683/2
As it is better to be safe than sorry, I think we ought to have the heavier rails.
1933 14 Apr. 125/1
Cheap distempers very soon crack or fade. Better be safe than sorry. Ask for Hall's.
1958 W. Armstrong xiii. 131
‘Better be safe than sorry’ was always the unspoken motto of lighthouse and lightship men.
1962 A. Nisbett vii. 120
For tapes that are to be broadcast it is better to be safe than sorry.
1972 J. Wilson vii. 128
It's not that I want to shut you in...But—well, it's better to be safe than sorry.
2009 M. Krepon iii. 59
It would have been far better to stop the flight testing... Once again, it was better to be safe than sorry.
With participles. Frequently poetic
1575 in A. Feuillerat
Putting in order and safebestowinge of the garmentes.
1599 S. Daniel Musophilus in sig. F
A true discern, of the cleare wayes That lie direct, with safe-going equitie Imbroyling not their owne & others dayes.
1778 Earl of Pembroke
Nothing remains to be done, but to make them drop the reins quite on a safe-going horse.
1875 A. Trollope I. xlvii. 296
In this safe-going country young men perhaps are not their own masters till they are past thirty.
1912 Nov. 289/2
Captain Turner sailed the Gulf for years, and was known and respected..as a safe-going mariner.
1761 sig. Ii3
Safe borne beneath th'expanded wing, Of her proud convoy, midst a subject fleet, Th'imperial Vessel sails.
1896 R. Kipling 38
Average fifteen hunder souls safe-borne fra' port to port.
1918 G. Frankau xxxii. 249
O Empire thrice and four times blessed by Fate, Safe-buttressed on ten thousand O.B.E.s!
a1723 S. Centlivre Abelard to Eloise in
Was ever Woman to her Lord so kind, That has not pray'd to see him safe enshrin'd?
1837 Nov. 253
To have my image safe enshrined Within a gentle heart, Can give me pleasure more refined Than splendid deeds impart.
1926 W. de la Mare Memory in R. Kipling & W. de la Mare
Keeps she for me, then, safe-enshrined..those bleached grey streets.
1942 5 Nov. 4/2
Safe enshrined in my heart's temple, I kept it, where no eye could see.
1762 J. Dalrymple 9
The adventure was to endure only until the vessel was safe moored.
1834 T. Carlyle Sartor Resartus iii. xii, in Aug. 193/2
Safe-moored in some stillest obscurity.
1912 M. E. Waller
ii. ix. 142
The dugout rocked safe moored within the cove.
1725 A. Pope tr. Homer II. v. 561
Some smooth ascent, or safe-sequester'd bay.
1824 P. Brontë in J. H. Turner
Rooks on rapid pinions move, For their lov'd home, the safe sequester'd grove.
1930 R. Campbell 17
Safe-sequestered in some rural glen.
2000 G. O. West iv. 600
Poor and marginalized communities practice their arts of resistance in safe sequestered sites until an appropriate opportunity for public resistance can be found.
1900 R. Kipling in Jan. 407
Safe-swung above the glassy death.
1934 C. R. M. F. Cruttwell xxviii. 467
Tired or inferior divisions could no longer be sent to a ‘safe’ area with any comfortable certainty that ample time would be available for their relief before an attack could be mounted.
The air-blitz..stimulated evacuation afresh... Many thousands of children were removed to safe areas, and..over 620,000 children were settled in reception areas.
22 Dec. 22
Daughters left to work in factories and farms,..and young children were evacuated to safe areas to avoid bombs.
1808 III. i. 28
‘An Earl against a Viscount is a safe bet any day,’ returned Major Lethbridge.
1846 30 May 259/1
It would be a safe bet at any hour of the day between ten and five o'clock, that you would in walking the streets see one or more females standing thus at the windows of more than half the houses.
1959 20 Dec. 21/1
It is a safe bet that Festivallers can now count on hearing some recent works of Britten.
1971 P. G. Wodehouse vii. 69
I go in mostly for who-dun-its and novels of suspense. For the who-dun-it Agatha Christie is always a safe bet.
2003 J. Gelfer 6
Appearing slightly mysterious and remote in the face of social try-hards will always be a safe bet.
1569 B. Googe sig. C.v
A gorgeous Ile, an earthly paradyse,..Doth please the eye, and doth allure the minde Of men that think safe harbour there to finde.
1629 H. Burton 75
A secure roade and safe harbour for all heauenly merchants to anchor in.
This place therefore formerly was a safe harbour for the most abandoned and profligate of mankind; where ruffians, thieves, murderers and others, took shelter from the hands of justice.
1850 R. Cobbold xviii. 149
Run ye to Him, bow down your soul and pray, And ask for wisdom, and for faith and peace; There in safe harbour ye shall rest in love.
1896 K. Francke viii. 362
In the love of Frau von Stein Goethe had found a safe harbour for his affections.
1904 A. N. Whitehead iv. 72
He clung to Catholicism... It was a safe harbour for an honest, inelastic, and not too dogmatic mind.
1965 78 1640
The SEC could promulgate a safe harbor provision.., either absolute or rebuttable upon a clear showing of lack of sophistication.
In the 18th century it was a safe harbour and winter haven for Hudson's Bay Co. sloops.
2002 Oct. 60/2
The Reform Act provides for the so-called safe harbor, which protects companies from being sued when their forecasts go unrequited.
1555 R. Eden tr. Peter Martyr of Angleria f. 107v
In the mouth of this goulfe were foure lyttle Ilandes so nere together, that they made a safe hauen to enter into the goulfe.
1668 J. Dryden iii. 27
Your friendship's my safe Haven, else I am lost and ship-wrack'd.
1773 Oct. 492/2
When a man, says Epicurus, recalls to memory the storms that he has weathered, the dangers he has passed, he fancies himself in a safe haven.
1831 Dec. 279/1
The safe, though feeble plank, by which to gain Safe haven from the storm of sinful sorrow's main.
1902 G. E. Collins 178
Try as our good amateur huntsman could, he failed to make any more of his fox, so concluded he had found a safe haven among the bricks and tiles.
2002 23 Sept. 116/1
Money market mutual funds make for a safe haven in turbulent times, but the returns are lousy.
6 June 104/1
Lovett goes to second base by safe hit to left field.
1895 G. J. Manson
Safe Hits, this term is applied to high balls sent from the bat with just force enough to carry them over the head of the infields, but not far enough out for the outfielders to catch.
1897 Earl of Suffolk et al. I. 77/2
Immediately the batsman hits a fair ball, he endeavours to get to first base... He may get there on a safe hit made by the succeeding batsman.
9 Nov. 24
Thompson hadn't had a safe hit in his three previous turns at bat.
1998 77 i. 114
Harm-reduction innovations include..establishing ‘safe-injection rooms’ so addicts do not congregate in public places or dangerous ‘shooting galleries’.
2005 12 Nov. 62/3
Two trials unique to North America have been launched, with federal help: a safe injection site for heroin addicts and a clinic prescribing free heroin to hard-core addicts.
2018 B. Macy Epil. 302
Philadelphia edged closer to launching the nation's first supervised safe-injection facility.
1815 H. Davy Let. 30 Oct. in J. A. Paris
I trust the Safe lamp will answer all the objects of the collier.
1893 13 May 657/1
Many amateur photographers when on tour require to take with them a safe lamp for changing plates, developing, &c.
1940 Sept. 450/2
The work must be done in a subdued light such as provided by a darkroom safelamp.
1983 10 Feb. 364/1
The matter rested there until his [sc. Davy's] return, during which time Clanny and Stephenson were working on their own versions of a safe lamp.
2000 L. Stroebel et al.
Select a dye that changes to a color that can be distinguished under the red, orange, or amber color of a safelamp.
1815 H. Davy in
The first safe lantern that I had constructed, was made of tin-plate, and the light emitted through four glass plates in the sides.
2008 R. Holmes viii. 364
Despite some fearful explosions, Davy already had at least three working prototypes of a ‘Safe Lantern’ ready by the end of October.
1816 H. Davy in
I have already had the honor of communicating to the Royal Society an account of a safe light.
1883 p. xxiii
1. A safe light for the preparation of gelatino-bromide emulsion. 2. A safe light for the coating of gelatino-bromide plates.
1905 26 309
The Sunderland Society then applied to Sir Humphrey Davy to assist them with the problem of a safe light for use in fiery mines.
1952 Apr. 211
Photographers who frequently switch from one type of safelight filter to another will find this two-way safelight a real timesaver.
22 Apr. e4
Auto reversal paper was spread over a table in a darkroom with only a safelight on.
1917 Oct. 376
The paper needed for the order in hand is cut to size, piled face down at one side of the machine (the room being properly ‘safe-lighted’), and the printing is proceeded with.
1954 1 Apr. 18/1
The individual staff darkrooms..are arranged in series along a safelighted corridor within the department.
2000 L. Blacklow
If you are contact printing an enlarged transparency and do not have access to a darkroom, merely flash an overhead tungsten light bulb in a safelighted room.
1893 26 Aug. 532/2
The comfort from heat, and safe lighting of the room, is testified to by the numbers using it [sc. an indoor darkroom] in preference to the one standing in the glaring sunlight.
1977 J. Hedgecoe 39
Printing papers and films intended for copying black and white originals have this sensitivity, allowing the use of bright orange safe-lighting.
2000 G. C. Webb in I. A. Darby & T. D. Hewitson iii. 43
Safelighting should be with an Ilford 914 filter in front of a 15-W globe, at least a meter away from bulk emulsions.
1979 10 Jan. 75/1
Electronic timers are far more accurate than relying on peering at your watch in a safelit darkroom.
10 Oct. 18
Atmel Micro-electronics Wallsend, a sunflower-yellow, safe-lit interior, with humans pacing dust-free corridors in protective suits.
1797 XVIII. 13/1
The soft bed of Givry stone had for its smallest strength 187,000, for its greatest 311,000, and for its safe load 249,000.
1868 W. Humber 67
Breaking and Safe Loads for Bridges, Girders, etc.
1908 30 Jan. 15/4
This particular chain was certified..as being capable of standing a strain of three tons, so that its ‘safe’ load was 1½ ton.
2001 July 37/2
All of the hydraulic jacks made today should..be clearly labeled with their maximum safe load rating.
The device will remain in a ‘Safe’ mode and will not explode.
1983 11 Mar. 1200/3
The spacecraft..with the ability to protect the instruments by going into a ‘safe mode’ at the first sign of an anomaly.
1996 S. J. Bigelow
You probably have a conflict in your Windows 95 drivers. Start Windows 95 in its ‘safe mode’.
9 June (Guide section) 9
If that doesn't work, the next step is to close Firefox and open it in Safe Mode.
1900 D. F. Wilcox iii. x. 87
Sexual intercourse for pleasure limited to the so-called ‘safe’ periods, including the periods of pregnancy and lactation, with intercourse for procreation when offspring is desired.
1923 M. C. Stopes ii. 14
The proper form of contraceptive must be one available at any time by the pair: and so the ‘safe period’ often advocated by those who pose as moralists is not satisfactory.
1981 J. Ross xiii. 75
When you're in the middle of a murder enquiry, I suspect that it's some kind of a male safe period for you.
2007 P. J. Steer in C. Oakley & C. A. Warnes
The so-called ‘safe period’ relies on the assumption that the average woman ovulates 14 days from the beginning of her last menstrual period.
1607 J. Cowell at Safe
Safe pledge, (Salvus plegius) is a suretie giuen for a mans appearance against a day assigned.
1775 J. Paul 122
Do you..by sureties and safe pledges compel the said A. that he be before us on (the return).
1854 W. H. Rule I. 39
The King commanded the Sheriff..to arrest the fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, of all those persons, and to put them and their chattels in safe pledge, until his pleasure should be known.
2003 R. Hayman iii. 24
For the first two transgressions against the venison a safe pledge was to be taken, while the third offence was punishable by execution.
1841 25 Mar. 5/3
Its constituency, by the number of fraudulent votes it embraces, affords a safe seat for Irish law-officers under the present régime.
1891 W. Fraser 491
A material element in the future of Constitutional Government is the non-existence of safe seats.
1939 W. I. Jennings ii. 27
The influence of a great landowner... May secure nomination by the local Conservative association and so enable the person nominated to acquire a safe seat.
2001 18 May 8/2
The former Conservative minister controversially ‘parachuted’ into the safe seat of St Helens South.
1968 H. Sebald ix. 225
Analytical observers concluded that this type of dancing was ‘safe sex’ for the teen-agers.
1973 5 6
The great majority of satisfied customers are romanticists who link vasectomy to positive feelings about the certainty of ‘safe sex’.
(Harvey Milk Gay Democratic Club, San Francisco)
In categorizing our advocacy of safer sex now as ‘anti-sex’, ‘panic-prone’,—even ‘anti-gay’—these critics have gone too far.
1990 49 203/2
Purists would object to the phrase ‘safe sex’, as today we err on the side of caution and refer to it as ‘safer sex’.
1993 J. Green 1
Celibacy, the very epitome of ‘safe sex’.
1999 M. Silcott vi. 167
One of the craziest ironies of the AIDS fundraising circuit has been that it is such an unconducive environment for the promotion of safe sex.
1974 26 Feb. 13/1
Miss Bernhardt believes she must make a safe place, a warm environment where there is trust, where people's identity is respected and where they will not have to perform or be judged... ‘Then it is safe to say something you have not said out loud to anyone... You have a safe space to try new things.’
1989 62 73/1
The openness of the instructors will create a safe space for lesbian students..who decide to come out.
Many women..say abolishing sorority houses would take away safe spaces for women.
We need to change our whole attitude to mental health. We need to rally together to create safe spaces where we can talk about our issues.
1879 22 Aug. 869/2
A bath should have a lead ‘safe’ tray placed under it, the waste-pipe of which must..end in the open air.
1912 G. Thomson xvi. 142
When built-up baths were in use, safe trays were an indispensable part of the installation.
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This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, September 2011; most recently modified version published online December 2022).
In this entry:
In other dictionaries:
- saeta, n.1898
- saeter, n.1799
- saeva indignatio, n.1796
- Safaitic, adj.1887
- safari, n.1860
- safari, v.1908
- Safavi, adj. and n.1835
- Safavid, adj. and n.1887
- safe, n.?a1425
- safe, adj. (and int.)c1300
- safe, v.1602
- safe conduct, n.c1325
- safe-conduct, v.1567
- safe deposit, n.1706
- safe edge, n.1815
- safeguard, n.a1413
- safeguard, v.1501
- safeguardance, n.1897
- safeguarding, n.a1513
- safeguarding, adj.1632
- safe hand, n. and adj.1643
- safehold, n.c1560
- safe house, n.1570
- safekeep, v.1588
- safekeeper, n.1561
- safekeeping, n.1425
- safely, adv.a1325
- safe-maker, n.11616
- safe maker, n.2?1789
- safe-making, n.1?1574
- safe making, n.21867
- safe-making, adj.1550
- safener, n.1933
- safeness, n.a1400
- safety, n.c1380
- safety, v.1916
- safety belt, n.1836
- safety catch, n.1826
- safety chain, n.1822
- safety first, int., ...1843