factor of safety

noun
the ratio of the maximum stress that a structural part or other piece of material can withstand to the maximum stress estimated for it in the use for which it is designed.
Also called safety factor.


Origin:
1855–60

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World English Dictionary
factor of safety
 
n
Also called: safety factor the ratio of the breaking stress of a material or structure to the calculated maximum stress when in use

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
For such materials it may be pointless to increase the factor of safety.
Design is based upon the factor of safety for overturning of an individual
  block.
It would be equally unwise to design an onsite wastewater treatment system
  without including an adequate design factor of safety.
The minimum factor of safety may not be less than four for existing
  installations.
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