Secure vs. safe?

Hello again from Canada. I wonder what the difference between secure and safe might be? I mean I know that safe is used in combinations like safe and sound and this describes a situation in which a person is protected and free from harm. To my mind, secure has a bit of a technical sense or even a military touch because of the noun security. Anyway, I’m not so sure and would be delighted if you could help me out here.
Thank you my friends :slight_smile:
Your englishfan

Hi englishfan,

You are right secure does have this idea of locked up often in a military sense because a security guard is someone who patrols an area to stop people breaking in. Perhaps I could mention two current expressions that illustrate the difference. People today are advised to have safe sex to avoid catching any form of disease by using some kind of protection. The idea is that if you are safe, no harm will come to you. The use of the adjective secure has more the idea of keeping intruders out. This is used in the expression secure site on the internet. When you log on to a site where you have to give details of say your credit card, you will see a small padlock at the bottom of the screen proving that the site is secure.

In summary safe is usually keeping the person away from harm and secure is usually preventing an unwanted intrusion.


Hello Alan, how come you have already answered my question? I barely had finished typing it up :wink:
Your explanation makes perfect sense. Now I can memorize to the word intruder in connection with the adjective secure and safe in connection with harm. The good thing with this technique is that both secure and intruder have the letter r and both safe and harm have the letter a.
Thank you for your prompt response. (It’s Sunday, isn’t it?)