General English

  • noun a strong box for keeping things such as documents, money or jewels in

General Science


  • adjective out of danger
  • noun a heavy metal box which cannot be opened easily, in which valuable documents and money can be kept


  • A built-in or portable chamber used to protect materials or documents from fire and/or theft.
  • A pan or other collector placed beneath apipe or fixture to collect leakage or overflow.


  • adjective referring to a judgment of a court which is well-based and is not likely to be quashed on appeal


  • adjective in a protected place or situation and not likely to be harmed or lost


  • adjective loaded, but not cocked and with no round in the breech
  • adjective not armed
  • noun a strong container fitted with a lock, which is used to store secret documents, money, valuable property, etc.


  • adjective good, fine. The standard meaning was extended in schoolchildren’s slang at the end of the 1980s to encompass anything positive. The word is thus used as an all-purpose term of approbation, often as an exclamation. ‘Safe’ in this generalised sense probably derives from its over-use by petty criminals and gang members.
  • noun a short form of French safe

Origin & History of “safe”

like save, and indeed salvage and salvation, safe comes from Latin salvus ‘uninjured’. It reached English via Old French sauf. Salvus itself went back to a prehistoric Indo-European *solwos ‘whole’, which came from the same base that produced English soldier, solemn, and solid. The noun safe ‘strongbox’ (15th c.) was originally save, a derivative of the verb, but by the late 17th century it had, under the influence of the adjective, become safe. The plant-name sage (14th c.) comes via Old French sauge from Latin salvia, etymologically the ‘healing’ plant, a derivative of salvus (English acquired salvia itself in the 19th century).