play safe: meaning and explanation
to play safe = to be cautious and minimise risks. We can also say play it safe, e.g. I’m probably being overcautious but I’m going to play it safe and allow an extra hour to get to the airport in time.
There are many situations in which there is a risk of something bad happening (e.g. it might rain on your way to work). Some people are happy to take this risk (and not take an umbrella). Other people would prefer to play it safe (and take an umbrella).
Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?
Accent: North America
Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:
- Are you a naturally cautious person, or do you generally play it safe?
- Can you think of an example of a time when you played it safe? Or a time when you regret not playing it safe?