a mechanism capable of returning to a safe state in case there is a failure or malfunction
Hypernyms: ↑mechanism
1. guaranteed not to fail

a fail-safe recipe for cheese souffle

Similar to: ↑secure
2. eliminating danger by compensating automatically for a failure or malfunction

a fail-safe device in a nuclear weapon to deactivate it automatically in the event of accident

Similar to: ↑safe

* * *

fail-safe «FAYL SAYF», adjective, verb, -safed, -saf|ing. or failed-, fail|ing-.
1. having a built-in safety device that is automatically activated to protect the operator from injury or its parts from damage, in case of power failure or malfunction of some part of the machine: »

A fail-safe reel brake prevents accidental spilling of tape in case of power failure (Science News). The authority said that subway trains were equipped with a fail-safe device that halts the train automatically if the brakes fail (New York Times).

2. guaranteed no to fail; safe from failure; foolproof: »

A master plan was worked out, beautifully turned and fail-safe on paper (Manchester Guardian Weekly).

to stop or alter an operation automatically in case of some malfunction or power failure: »

Those with gas central heating will have cursed the irony of a system which fails-safe when the electrical power supply is severed (Anthony Tucker).

to make or cause to be fail-safe.
[< Fail Safe]
a procedure of the U.S. Strategic Air Command in which a bomber may not proceed toward its target beyond a certain point until a final affirming order has been issued: »

And even beyond Fail Safe point and all the way to bomb-drop point, the war order can be reversed and the aircraft called home (Time).

* * *

adj. causing a piece of machinery or other mechanism to revert to a safe condition in the event of a breakdown or malfunction

a forklift with a fail-safe device

unlikely or unable to fail

the computer that runs the place is supposed to be fail-safe

n. [usu. in sing.] a system or plan that comes into operation in the event of something going wrong or that is there to prevent such an occurrence

the secondary safety system is indeed a fail-safe

* * *

/ˈfeılˌseıf/ adj [more \fail-safe; most \fail-safe]
: certain not to fail

Of course, no system is entirely fail-safe.

He was looking for a fail-safe source of money.

a fail-safe device/mechanism [=a device/mechanism that will not break]

* * *

ˈfail-safe [fail-safe] adjective usually before noun
(of machinery or equipment) designed to stop working if anything goes wrong


fail-safe device/mechanism/system

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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  • fail safe — To revert to a safe condition in the event of failure • • • Main Entry: ↑fail * * * fail safe «FAYL SAYF», adjective, verb, safed, saf|ing. or failed , fail|ing . –adj. 1. having a …   Useful english dictionary

  • Fail-safe — or fail secure describes a device or feature which, in the event of failure, responds in a way that will cause no harm or at least a minimum of harm to other devices or danger to personnel. Definitions*“A device that will provide its intended… …   Wikipedia

  • fail-safe — adj 1.) a fail safe machine, piece of equipment etc contains a system that makes the machine stop working if one part of it fails 2.) a fail safe plan is certain to succeed …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • Fail-Safe — était un groupe musical de Montréal. Ils ont principalement occupé la scène montréalaise entre 1986 et 1988. Ils n ont eu qu un seul album homonyme. Très influencé par le groupe Black Flag mais moins rapide et plus émotif, ils avaient un côté… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • fail-safe — fail′ safe adj. 1) elo equipped with a secondary system that ensures continued operation even if the primary system fails 2) mil denoting a system of safeguards in which bombers may not proceed past a prearranged point or nuclear weapons may not… …   From formal English to slang

  • fail-safe — ► ADJECTIVE 1) causing machinery to revert to a safe condition in the event of a breakdown. 2) unlikely or unable to fail …   English terms dictionary

  • fail-safe — [fāl′sāf΄] adj. [ FAIL, v. + SAFE, adj.] designating, of, or involving a procedure designed to prevent malfunctioning or unintentional operation, often specif. of nuclear armed aircraft, through an intricate system of protective devices …   English World dictionary

  • fail-safe — [adj] guaranteed not to fail confident, covered, foolproof, protected, reliable, reliant, safeguarded, secure, sound, sure; concepts 535,542,544 …   New thesaurus

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