Danger & Safety Idioms 

These danger and safety idioms are frequently used in English so it's a good idea to learn them or at least recognize them when you see or hear them.

Remember what idioms are, right?

Idioms are a group of words that have a fixed meaning that is different than if you looked up the words separately in the dictionary. 


An infographic listing the 8 safety and danger idioms listed on this webpage with example sentences.

More sentence examples

Sometimes it's really helpful to have more than one example sentence when you learn a new idiom. Below, you'll find more examples for each idiom from the infographic:


play with fire:  to take dangerous risks or behave in a way that could cause the person serious trouble.

  • Your family has a history of alcoholism so drinking hard liquor is really playing with fire
  • My sister has been flirting with a married colleague at work and after his wife called her a homewrecker, she realized she's been playing with fire.  
  • Writing your husband's graduate school thesis is really playing with fire.

NSFW:  An initialism for the words Not Safe For Work; it's used as a warning for the reader to be cautious about viewing or opening an image or message that might have inappropriate content for the workplace.

  • I never open any personal emails my friends send to my work account because I'm afraid something might be NSFW.
  • We had an interesting training at the office about emails, videos and internet browsing that's considered NSFW
  • If you're caught sending anything that's NSFW to a colleague, your employment will be terminated without warning.  


play it safe:  To take precautions to avoid risks.

  • Neither my husband nor I want to have kids right now so we're playing it safe and using two forms of birth control.  
  • If you're worried about the food, why don't you play it safe and bring some peanut butter and crackers?  
  • I have had bad heartburn lately so I'll play it safe and avoid anything spicy for dinner.

in safe hands:  To be cared for or protected by harm by a trustworthy entity or person. 

  • The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomes refugees in safe hands during war and other conflicts.  
  • I really feel like we're in safe hands with our insurance company.
  • When the police arrived on the scene we finally felt like we were in safe hands again.


fly into the face of danger:  To do something risky or unsafe.  

  • Driving out in that blizzard is flying into the face of danger. Don't do it.
  • My son thrives on flying into the face of danger.  I try not to worry but it's impossible.
  • Our daughter flew into the face of danger during her sorority initiation when she was forced to drink 10 beers within a few hours. 

on shaky ground:  To not be supported or in an unstable position; likely to fail or break down.

  • I feel like I'm on shaky ground with my girlfriend after my ex-wife sent me a few emails.
  • Our organization is on shaky ground at the moment because we've lost funding from a major donor.  
  • You should just stay home tonight. You're already on shaky ground with your parents. 


live dangerously:  To take daring risks.

Note:  This idiom is sometimes used sarcastically or humorously for mildly risky actions.

  • I'm sorry but drinking alcohol during your lunch hour is living dangerously.
  • My brother loves to live dangerously, stealing all sorts of stuff from the mall.
  • Be careful cowboy. You're really living dangerously drinking those frozen margaritas.

safety in numbers:  The idea that being in a large group of people offers greater protection from harm or bad events.

  • We never hike alone. Safety in numbers is our group's motto.
  • I know there's safety in numbers but when I can't find someone to go running with me in the evening, I go alone.
  • Don't forget when you're backpacking in Europe that there's safety in numbers.


You might like these other idiom infographics

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