failsafe

fail-safe

[feyl-seyf]
adjective
1.
Electronics. pertaining to or noting a mechanism built into a system, as in an early warning system or a nuclear reactor, for insuring safety should the system fail to operate properly.
2.
equipped with a secondary system that insures continued operation even if the primary system fails.
3.
(sometimes initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, or designating a system of coded military controls in which bombers dispatched to a prearranged point as part of a standard operating procedure cannot advance farther without direct orders from a designated authority and cannot have the nuclear warheads they carry armed until they have passed their prearranged point.
4.
guaranteed to work; totally reliable: a fail-safe recipe for a cheese soufflé.
noun
5.
(sometimes initial capital letter) the point beyond which the bombers cannot go without specific instruction; the fail-safe point.
6.
something designed to work or function automatically to prevent breakdown of a mechanism, system, or the like.
verb (used with object), fail-safed, fail-safing.
7.
to make fail-safe.

Origin:
1945–50; apparently from verb phrase to fail safe(ly)

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fail-safe
 
adj
1.  designed to return to a safe condition in the event of a failure or malfunction
2.  (of a nuclear weapon) capable of being deactivated in the event of a failure or accident
3.  unlikely to fail; foolproof
 
vb
4.  (intr) to return to a safe condition in the event of a failure or malfunction

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

failsafe
also fail-safe, fail safe, 1948, from fail + safe.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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