Security and Safety – an in depth explanation of these two English words

Security Safety – do these words mean the same thing? Sometimes the meaning of security overlaps with safety, but safety is the more general term. In this video lesson we go in depth and look at how we use these two words in English. To see a simpler explanation,click here.


Click here to see a more basic explanation of these words.
Click here to see more videos designed for business English learners.

Security and Safety – in depth explanation

I should be home by six.
Have a safe journey.

Bad things happen. Sometimes bad things happen by accident. And they can be safety issues. And sometimes, bad things happen because of bad guys. And they can be security issues. These words are about preventing bad things from happening. Safety is generally about preventing accidents. Security is generally about preventing bad guys from doing bad things. Now, that’s a good rule-of-thumb to follow. But sometimes, the meanings of these words overlap.

It’s bad news. Sales are down and the future of the company is not secure.

Nobody’s job is safe. Both ‘safe’ and ‘secure’ are possible in this context. And they mean much the same thing. So, perhaps it helps to look at the roots of these words. ‘Safe’ comes from the Latin word ‘salvus.’ It means healthy and sound, in good condition. Is this water safe to drink? Uh, no. Have some bottled water. Ok. Thanks ‘Secure’ comes from the Latin word ‘securus.’ It means free from care. So secure can describe how we feel when we’re worry free and happy. We talk about secure investments – investments we feel confident about because they’re not risky. And we talk about having job security – feeling confident that our job will continue.

Is your financial future safe? Is gold a secure investment? Is your financial future secure? Is gold a safe investment?

Safety is the more general term. It’s about protection from all kinds of things. Security is more specific. It’s about protection from the bad guys. We talk about national security – things governments do to keep their citizens safe. We have prison security and we have border security. And we have airport security – protecting people from the bad guys who pose threats. Safety is less specific.

Officer, will my car be safe if I leave it parked here? Yes, but don’t leave anything valuable in it.

Notice that Jay says ‘safe’ here, not ‘secure’ Officer, will my car be safe if I leave it parked here? There are all kinds of things that could happen to his car, including theft or loss. So safety and security – they’re both about protection from bad things. Security – protection from bad guys. Safety – protection from – well – all kinds of different things.

Is this website safe?
Oh yeah, don’t worry. You won’t get any, uh, spyware or viruses from it.

Hey, is this website secure?
Yes, you need a password to get into it.

Oh, right. Is this website safe? Oh yeah, don’t worry. You won’t get any, uh, spyware or viruses from it.
Hey, is this website secure? Yes, you need a password to get into it.
Oh, right.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript
Click here to see a more basic explanation of these words.
Click here to see more videos designed for business English learners.

One thought on “Security and Safety – an in depth explanation of these two English words

  • January 5, 2017 at 9:08 am
    Permalink

    Excellent Video, thank you so much!

    Reply

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