safe

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safe bet

1. Something that is certain to occur. Based on his grades, it's a pretty safe bet that Harry won't be able to graduate on time.
2. A person or thing that is certain to be good or successful. The department felt that she was a safe bet for the account manager position.
See also: bet, safe

safe pair of hands

A trustworthy and competent person. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. That struggling company really needs a leader who is a safe pair of hands and can make some positive changes.
See also: hand, of, pair, safe

be as safe as houses

To be protected. The phrase alludes to the idea of "home" as a safe haven or shelter. I locked your jewelry in a drawer, so it's as safe as houses.
See also: house, safe

be in safe hands

To be cared for by a responsible or trustworthy person or group. I just got recertified in first aid, so your kids are in safe hands with me. I thought our retirement fund was in safe hands—until our broker fled the country in disgrace!
See also: hand, safe

NSFW

An abbreviation for "not safe/suitable for work." It typically accompanies online posts, articles, or videos that might be considered racy or otherwise inappropriate in the workplace. Unless you want the boss to yell at you, don't click on that link that says "NSFW."

not safe for work

A phrase (often abbreviated as "NSFW") that typically accompanies online posts, articles, or videos that might be considered racy or otherwise inappropriate in the workplace.
See also: not, safe, work

safe space

A place where one will not encounter mistreatment, discrimination, and, in some cases, words or activities that could trigger reminders of past psychological trauma. The campus needs a safe space for the LGBTQ community. Is there a safe space for trauma victims to go after that lecture on human trafficking?
See also: safe, space

better (to be) safe than sorry

It is better to expend the time or effort to be cautious with one's actions than to feel regret about one's carelessness later. It might be nothing, but you should take your car to the mechanic right away—better to be safe than sorry. I was so nervous about oversleeping that I set three alarms. Better safe than sorry, you know?
See also: better, safe, sorry

in safe hands

In the care of a responsible or trustworthy person or group. I just got recertified in first aid, so your kids are in safe hands with me. I thought our retirement fund was in safe hands—until our broker fled the country in disgrace!
See also: hand, safe

to be on the safe side

In order to avoid potential problems or challenges. This phrase is typically used without conjugating the infinitive "to be." I made an extra batch of brownies, just to be on the safe side in case we have more guests than we anticipated.
See also: on, safe, side

Better (be) safe than sorry.

Prov. Cliché You should be cautious—if you are not, you may regret it. It may be time-consuming to check the oil in your car every time you buy gasoline, but better safe than sorry. Bob: I don't need a tetanus shot just because I stepped on a nail. Mary: I still think you should get one. Better be safe than sorry.
See also: better, safe, sorry

Have a safe trip.

 and Have a safe journey.
I hope that your journey is safe.; Be careful and assure that your journey is safe. (Said as someone is about to leave for a trip.) Bill: Well, we're off for London. Sally: Have a safe trip. Bill: You're driving all the way to San Francisco? Bob: Yes, indeed. Bill: Well, have a safe trip.
See also: have, safe, trip

on the safe side

Fig. taking the risk-free path. Let's be on the safe side and call first. I think you should stay on the safe side and call the doctor about this fever.
See also: on, safe, side

play it safe

to be or act safe; to avoid taking a risk. You should play it safe and take your umbrella. If you have a cold or the flu, play it safe and go to bed.
See also: play, safe

safe and sound

unharmed and whole or healthy. It was a rough trip, but we got there safe and sound. I'm glad to see you here safe and sound.
See also: and, safe, sound

to be on the safe side

to be safe; to be cautious; [to do something just] in case it is necessary; to be very well prepared. To be on the safe side, carry some extra money in your shoe. I like to be on the safe side and stay in my hotel room at night.
See also: on, safe, side

to be safe

to be cautious; to be careful; [to do something just] in case it is necessary; to be very well prepared. Just to be safe, you should take some extra water with you. Other people like to drive over the speed limit, but I prefer to be safe.
See also: safe

Your secret is safe with me.

I will not tell your secret to anyone. Don't worry. I won't tell. Your secret's safe with me. Your secret is safe with me. I will carry it to my grave.
See also: safe, secret

better safe than sorry

Being careful may avoid disaster, as in I'm not taking any short-cuts-better safe than sorry. This cautionary phrase appeared as better sure than sorry in 1837.
See also: better, safe, sorry

on the safe side

Avoiding danger, with a margin for error, as in Just to be on the safe side, let's order another hundred chairs. This idiom was first recorded in 1811.
See also: on, safe, side

play it safe

Also, play safe. Avoid extreme risks, as in I played it safe and bet only a dollar, or Let's play safe and get a backup in case the announced speaker gets sick. [c. 1900]
See also: play, safe

safe and sound

Out of danger and unharmed, as in It was a challenging climb, so I'm relieved they got home safe and sound. [c. 1300]
See also: and, safe, sound

safe as houses

Totally secure, as in If you buy Treasury bonds, your money will be safe as houses but you won't get a large return . In today's security-conscious climate, where alarm systems to deter housebreaks have become increasingly common, this simile may seem puzzling. Presumably it uses house in the sense of "a shelter from the elements." [Late 1800s]
See also: house, safe

a good bet

or

a safe bet

COMMON
1. If something is a good bet or a safe bet, it is a sensible or useful thing to do or use. If you're after something smart to wear to a friend's wedding, a dark suit has to be a good bet. When you're unfamiliar with your guests' likes and dislikes, chicken is a safe bet for the main course. Note: You can also say that something would be a better bet or a safer bet, meaning that it would be more sensible or useful than another possibility. I was going to buy an apartment but I'm now thinking a house might be a better bet. Basing a drama series on a book is a far safer bet than commissioning a brand new one. Note: You can also say that something is someone's best bet or safest bet, meaning that it is the most sensible or useful thing to do. If you really want to keep your home safe from robbery, your best bet is still to buy a dog.
2. If something is a good bet or a safe bet, it is very likely to happen. With these players, Leeds United look a good bet to reach the final for the first time since 1978. They won't enjoy reading this book; it's a safe bet that few will read more than 100 pages.
See also: bet, good

in safe hands

COMMON If someone or something is in safe hands, they are being looked after by someone who will make sure they are not harmed or damaged. They could get on with their own lives, knowing their girls were in safe hands. It's reassuring to know that the pilot is highly trained and you're in safe hands. Note: Other adjectives are sometimes used instead of safe. Although I knew the children would be in good hands, I still felt anxious. He was also forced to give up his business, which is now in the capable hands of his only son. Compare with a safe pair of hands.
See also: hand, safe

a safe pair of hands

mainly BRITISH
If someone is a safe pair of hands, they are good at their job and can be relied on not to make any serious mistakes. He was viewed as a reliable, solid politician — a safe pair of hands. Compare with in safe hands.
See also: hand, of, pair, safe

better safe than sorry

or

it's better to be safe than sorry

COMMON People say better safe than sorry or it's better to be safe than sorry to mean that it is good to be careful, even if it may not seem necessary, in order to avoid problems. I think you should stay in hospital another day or two — better safe than sorry, right? Never take chances with electrical equipment of any kind — it's better to be safe than sorry! Note: People also say that they would rather be safe than sorry. We were surprised by the level of security. `I'd rather be safe than sorry,' she explained.
See also: better, safe, sorry

play safe

BRITISH or

play it safe

COMMON If you play safe or play it safe, you do not take any risks. If you want to play safe, cut down on the amount of salt you eat. Big tourist hotels tend to play safe with bland international menus. The pilot decided that Christchurch was too far away, and played it safe, landing at Wellington.
See also: play, safe

safe as houses

BRITISH
If something is as safe as houses, it is very safe and reliable. Both managers can count on one thing — their jobs are safe as houses. If you think building society cheques are as safe as houses, think again.
See also: house, safe

to be on the safe side

COMMON If you do something to be on the safe side, you do it to protect yourself from harm or trouble, although it is unlikely to be necessary. I didn't think it was serious but I took her to the doctor's just to be on the safe side. You probably won't need planning permission for such a project, but to be on the safe side, check with your local planning department.
See also: on, safe, side

on the safe side

mod. taking the risk-free path. Let’s be on the safe side and call first.
See also: on, safe, side