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 info-graphic:


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

Your turn to practice!

The best way to learn new vocabulary is to use it in your own practice sentences. You can write your own sentences in the comments below and I will correct any errors.


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