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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

better safe than sorry

Proceed carefully so as to be sure to get there. This cautionary formula dates from the early nineteenth century, when it was phrased “better sure than sorry,” and became a cliché in the mid-twentieth century. The idea, of course, is much older. Thomas Ravenscroft in 1695 wrote, “It’s good to be sure.”
See also: better, safe, sorry
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
If being "better safe than sorry" means a positive outcome each and every time--I'd say it's a pretty good motto to live by.
When you are walking cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief (no shame in doing that - better safe than sorry!)
This is because I "let" the dog swim and then "allowed" the dog onto the bed, and because the dog "doesn't know any better." I'm not sure that any of those reasons would stand up in court, but better safe than sorry.
Also check out any lumps that develop - they may be nothing to worry about but better safe than sorry.
Summary: Better safe than sorry: Dubai advises you to carry your own beauty kit with you to avoid diseases in the salon.
"As we have seen, it is better safe than sorry. It's better to be prepared for all kind of developments."
Some say better safe than sorry, but it still can be maintained
The Gage Canadian Dictionary defines precaution as "taking care beforehand." This sounds like the simple common sense aphorism of "better safe than sorry." But the concept has proven to be more complicated than that: the Swedish philosopher Sandin has recently documented no less than 19 definitions of the precautionary principle in various treaties, laws and academic writings.
This educational campaign aims at raising awareness about the causes of electrical fires, by giving easy tips on how to be 'Better Safe Than Sorry' this summer, through specially set up kiosks at Eros Digital Home outlets located at Deira City Center, Mall of the Emirates, Lamcy Plaza and Arabian Center.
The natural tendency is to stay away from the product entirely-the theory being better safe than sorry."
At the other extreme, some consumers take a "better safe than sorry" attitude.
His position is basically one of "better safe than sorry" (that is, described by the modern equivalent, the "Precautionary Principle").
An old adage tells us that, "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." An exaggeration perhaps, but with the four seasons becoming less predictable, it may be wise to live by the words, "better safe than sorry."
A Network Rail spokeswoman said yesterday: 'It is a case of better safe than sorry.
Expressing concern that the "burden of scientific proof has posed a monumental barrier in the campaign to protect health and the environment," proponents turn to the Precautionary Principle to avoid having to justify decisions based on available evidence, but instead based on a "better safe than sorry" approach.
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