Word of the Day

safe space

A place where an individual can feel comfortable about expressing opinions without fear of discrimination or attack.

During a short speech on Sunday following the terrorist attack in London on Saturday evening the Prime Minister used the term safe space.

Referring to “Islamist extremism” whose defeat would be “one of the greatest challenges of our time,” Theresa May said that the UK “cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed”. She was referring primarily to the safe space provided by some social media companies whose internet platforms are used by extremist organizations to radicalize vulnerable individuals.

As the examples below show, the expression is generally used in a positive way to refer to places and situations in which vulnerable people can express themselves without feeling at risk of attack or ridicule. It is relatively unusual to use it to refer to a place where dangerous things can grow unchecked. In fact there are no examples at all of this type in the huge enTenTen13 corpus.

safe space

1. a place where everyone can feel comfortable about expressing their identity without fear of discrimination or attack
The program provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth ages 13-25.

2. a situation or place where a person can feel comfortable and secure
Counselling is a safe space where individuals can pause, explore and gain insight.
Every child needs a safe space – a space where they can feel safe and protected and free.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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