N: 1. – safe (adj): c. 1300, “unscathed, unhurt, uninjured; free from danger or molestation, in safety, secure; saved spiritually, redeemed, not damned;” from Old French sauf “protected, watched-over; assured of salvation,” from Latin salvus “uninjured, in good health, safe,” related to salus “good health,” saluber “healthful,” all from PIE *solwos from root *sol- “whole, well-kept.”
As a quasi-preposition from c. 1300, on model of French and Latin cognates. From late 14c. as “rescued, delivered; protected; left alive, unkilled.” Meaning “not exposed to danger” (of places) is attested from late 14c.; of actions, etc., “free from risk,” first recorded 1580s. Meaning “sure, reliable, not a danger” is from c. 1600. Sense of “conservative, cautious” is from 1823. Paired alliteratively with sound (adj.) from late 14c. The noun safe-conduct (late 13c.) is from Old French sauf-conduit (13c.).
– area (n): 1530s, “vacant piece of ground,” from Latin area “level ground, open space,” used of building sites, playgrounds, threshing floors, etc.; which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps an irregular derivation from arere “to become dry” (see arid), on notion of “bare space cleared by burning.” The generic sense of “any particular amount of surface (whether open or not) contained within any set of limits” is from 1560s. Area code in the North American telephone systems is attested from 1959.
2. Safe Zones: During periods of armed conflict or strife places are set aside where people who are not involved in the fighting may find a degree of refuge. Such places have at times been referred to as safe zones; however, this is not a technical term. Comparable terms include safe havens, safe areas, corridors of tranquility, humanitarian corridors, neutral zones, protected areas, secure humanitarian areas, security corridors, and security zones.
SYN: safe humanitarian zone, safe zone.