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[seyf-tee] /ˈseɪf ti/
noun, plural safeties.
the state of being safe; freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss.
the quality of averting or not causing injury, danger, or loss.
a contrivance or device to prevent injury or avert danger.
Also called lock, safety catch, safety lock. a locking or cutoff device that prevents a gun from being fired accidentally.
the action of keeping safe.
  1. an act or play in which a player on the offensive team is tackled in his own end zone or downs the ball there, or in which the ball goes out of bounds on a fumble, having last been in bounds in or over the end zone and having last been in the possession of an offensive player.
    Compare touchback.
  2. an award of two points to the opposing team on this play.
  3. Also called safety man. a player on defense who lines up farthest behind the line of scrimmage.
Baseball. a base hit, especially a one-base hit.
Slang. a condom.
Obsolete. close confinement or custody.
1250-1300; Middle English sauvete < Middle French. See safe, -ty2
Related forms
self-safety, noun
supersafety, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for safeties


noun (pl) -ties
the quality of being safe
freedom from danger or risk of injury
a contrivance or device designed to prevent injury
(American football)
  1. Also called safetyman. either of two players who defend the area furthest back in the field
  2. a play in which the offensive team causes the ball to cross its own goal line and then grounds the ball behind that line, scoring two points for the opposing team Compare touchback
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for safeties
c.1300, from O.Fr. sauvete, earlier salvetet (11c.), from M.L. salvitatem (nom. salvitas) "safety," from L. salvus (see safe). Meaning "trigger-lock on a gun" is attested from 1881. As a N.Amer. football position, first recorded 1881. Safety-pin is from 1857; safety-valve is from 1797; fig. sense recorded from 1818. Safety-net first recorded 1950. Safety-first as an accident-prevention slogan first used in Britain in 1873 (said to be originally from U.S. railroads); widely used on Conservative Party election posters in 1922.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for safeties


Sun Awareness for Educating Today's Youth
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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