better safe than sorry

Also found in: Acronyms.

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

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

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

better safe than sorry


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

better safe than sorry

it's wiser to be cautious and careful than to be hasty or rash and so do something that you may later regret.
Apparently the expression is quite recent in this form (mid 20th century); better be sure than sorry is recorded from the mid 19th century.
1998 New Scientist The meeting is to be commended for taking a ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude, and drawing up a baseline list of measures to be put in place when disease breaks out.
See also: better, safe, sorry

ˌbetter (to be) ˌsafe than ˈsorry

(saying) it is better to be too careful than to do something careless that you may later regret: We’d better fill the car up with petrol now. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
See also: better, safe, sorry
References in periodicals archive ?
I'm not sure that any of those reasons would stand up in court, but better safe than sorry.
Right now they're treating it like it is broken and they're just waiting - better safe than sorry type of thing, you know?
Very exasperated by then, I pointed out that scores of dead birds could be lying among the trees on Bangor Mountain, in the many pockets of dense undergrowth about town where I searched so vainly for Catty and better safe than sorry.
From their perspective its a question of better safe than sorry by over-ordering, as the cost of wasted materials is unlikely to be deducted from their wages, he said.
Better safe than sorry, after all - he had learned the hard way.
Keeping Sars in check 400 miles from Toronto WE don't have any Sars in northern Ontario, but our hospital is making everyone wash their hands with soap and put on a face mask - better safe than sorry.
Without a doubt, I thought, better safe than sorry.
Whatever an inquiry may decide in this case, I believe better safe than sorry is the preferred alternative to carnage.
You may never need to claim, but better safe than sorry
Which leads us to a pair of S-words: Better safe than sorry.
Even if it turns out to be nothing, it's better safe than sorry.
Peter Dunn, the university's spokesman, said: 'Really this was a case of better safe than sorry.
Consider micro-chipping and have an ID tag on your dog's collar - better safe than sorry should you get separated
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