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Acsenray
09-15-2005, 08:44 AM
On N.P.R. this morning, I heard a promo reader refer to a bank's safety deposit boxes damaged in the hurricane. I always thought it was a safe deposit box, because it's a deposit box in a safe (or vault).

So which is it

rainy
09-15-2005, 10:39 AM
My bank's web page lists it as SAFE deposit box.

-rainy

David Simmons
09-15-2005, 10:44 AM
Take your pick.

Acsenray
09-15-2005, 11:02 AM
Is there any difference in preference based on geography or industry? (e.g., U.K. v. U.S.). Is one term older than the other?

rainy
09-15-2005, 12:51 PM
From a common errors in English page

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/safety.html

it is properly SAFE deposit box.

-rainy

Mr. Slant
09-15-2005, 01:16 PM
Well, two US-based vendors of this variety of security container say "safe deposit box" [1] [2].
Two US-based banks say "safety deposit box" [3] [4].
The FDIC says "safety deposit box" [5].
I'll conclude that in US applications, either term is permissible.

[1] http://www.diebold.com/dnpssec/financial/vaultandsafeproducts/sd_boxes_lockers.htm
[2] http://www.hamiltonsafe.com/safeDeposBox/safeDepoBox.html
[3] http://www.chase.com/pages/chase/pf/banking/safedeposit
[4] http://www.dollarbank.com/dollarbankpersonal/LIBRARY/safe.html
[5] http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnspr97/sfdpstbx.html

rainy
09-15-2005, 01:25 PM
Well, two US-based vendors of this variety of security container say "safe deposit box" [1] [2].
Two US-based banks say "safety deposit box" [3] [4].
The FDIC says "safety deposit box" [5]


Uh, the cites 3,4, and 5 (as well as cites 1 and 2) all refer to 'safe' deposit box unless I really missed something.

???

-rainy

yabob
09-15-2005, 02:22 PM
From a common errors in English page

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/safety.html

it is properly SAFE deposit box.

-rainy
Even if that's technically the correct term, "safety deposit box" isn't illogical, and it's not going to bother me if it has taken root as an accepted variant. Google shows about 3.5 million hits on "safe deposit box", 2.5 million on "safety deposit box". At a quick glance, the latter does seem to include several customer web pages at financial institutions, a "US News and World Report" article, and a page from "MSN Money" which uses both variants on the same page:

http://moneycentral.msn.com/quickref/quickref.asp?Cat=10&SelCat=4&RefType=0&Topic=1&Sub=4

danceswithcats
09-15-2005, 07:37 PM
As a former employee of a company (Inter Innovation LeFebure) who manufactured the things, we referred to them as safe deposit boxes. Ilco, a key blank manufacturer, lists blanks proprietary to those locks as being safe deposit.

Mr. Slant
09-15-2005, 09:59 PM
Uh, the cites 3,4, and 5 (as well as cites 1 and 2) all refer to 'safe' deposit box unless I really missed something.

???

-rainy

Those pages were google-positive for the query
safety deposit box
unfortunately, I forgot to query for
"safety deposit box"
so I got bogus links.

I found a link for a bank saying "safety deposit box" at
http://locator.scotiabank.com/ScotiaExt/default.asp but that turned out to be a bank in Canuckistan.
Another Canadian cite: http://www.coastcapitalsavings.com/Business/Business_Banking_Services/Services/SafetyDepositBoxes
Here's another one at http://www.guardianvaults.com.au/ben_fac.html , but they're in Oz.
And here's one in Turkey at http://www.garantibank.com/banking/safety_deposit_boxes.html

It's safe to say, the evidence above proves that Americans are the only English-speaking people in the world with a guud grasp of the English language.

samclem
09-15-2005, 11:22 PM
I can find newspaper cites as early as 1890 for "safety deposit box."

The term originally was "safe deposit box" which I found as early as 1870.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-16-2005, 12:20 AM
Since "safety" isn't an adjective, I suspect that "safety deposit box" arose out of people verbally stumbling a bit when they say "safe deposit box". Like many languages, English has many instances of what linguists call 'assimilation', when the pronunciation of one phoneme takes on some characteristics of neighboring sounds.

The /f/ sound in "safe" is voiceless, and this causes the /d/ in "deposit" to lose some of its voicedness, or become more like a /t/. When spoken hastily, "safe deposit box" sounds like "safety posit box", to which some people began adding the "de" so the middle part would once again be a word.

David Simmons
09-16-2005, 01:03 AM
It's either a deposit box in a safe or a deposit box that provides safety.

Let's see there's a safey belt, a safety lamp, safety glass. Why can't there be a safety deposit box?

Sort of a tempest in a teapot IMHO.

rainy
09-16-2005, 09:12 AM
It's safe to say, the evidence above proves that Americans are the only English-speaking people in the world with a guud grasp of the English language.

A UK Doper will be along shorty to dress you down for that! :)

-rainy

David Simmons
09-16-2005, 10:22 AM
A UK Doper will be along shorty to dress you down for that! :)

-rainyWhy should we pay any attention to those who mispronounce words so badly? ;) (Too bad there isn't a smug smiley.)

Brian740
10-21-2015, 09:34 AM
It is a box deposited into a safe. Fairly straight forward; so how did 'safe' become 'safety?' Because people don't listen or hear. Said clearly and slowly, it is safe deposit box. But when run together quickly, it becomes safedepositbox. So phonetically, the mind hears something that sounds like safety (safede posit box). Mentally, posit doesn't fit, so de is added to the front of it (less mental gymnastics required.) Thinking about it, what is a safety deposit box? Nothing in that gives much of a clue as to what provides the safety. But a safe deposit box is fairly self explanatory.

jtur88
10-21-2015, 11:56 AM
According to Google's NGram viewer, "Safe deposit box" is used almost twice as frequently as "safety deposit box" in both the USA and British usage, and has always been since the expression came into general usage around 1910.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=safe+deposit+box%2C+safety+deposit+box&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Csafe%20deposit%20box%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Csafety%20deposit%20box%3B%2Cc0

DrDeth
10-21-2015, 01:19 PM
From a common errors in English page

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/safety.html

it is properly SAFE deposit box.



That's "a common error". Look, both are understandable. Both are in common usage. Thus both are perfectly Ok, as David Simmons sez.

Leo Bloom
10-21-2015, 01:28 PM
When I go to the bank to my safety deposit box I also sometimes look for a notary republic. And I also drink ice coffee.

Atamasama
10-21-2015, 03:38 PM
Conversely, "Safety Dance" is misheard as "safe to dance".

RealityChuck
10-21-2015, 03:57 PM
It's also a place to keep a deposit safe. "Safe" can be used as a modifier (e.g., "safe haven"). So you start with a box. A box where you put in money is a "deposit box." One where your money is safe is a "safe deposit box."

"Safety deposit box" comes from the mistaken beliefs that "safe" is only a noun, and that a noun cannot modify another noun.

In any case, both terms are used interchangeably, regardless of which is "right" or not.

samclem
10-21-2015, 06:49 PM
Looking at updated cites in newspapers and books, the term were interchangeable around 1870. Both meant the same thing.

sbunny8
10-21-2015, 09:12 PM
Certified Master Locksmith here.

It's safe, not safety. 99% of the locksmith supply companies, locksmith magazines, and locksmith catalogs all call it a "safe deposit box". It's a box which is inside a safe, where you deposit your valuables. There may be confusion amongst the general public, but professional locksmiths are in near-unanimous agreement on this issue, to the point where you could chalk up the rare occurrences of "safety" as mere typos.

Siam Sam
10-21-2015, 09:46 PM
The Wikipedia entry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_deposit_box) is listed as "Safe Deposit Box," but it says "otherwise known as safety deposit box." American Heritage Dictionary has an entry for safe-deposit box (https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=safe-deposit%20box) but does not give an alternative name.