As Safe As Houses

Meaning of “As Safe as Houses”

The phrase “as safe as houses” means to feel very safe and secure. The phrase is also used for an investment value of a property. When a person buys a house he has an immovable property and it is secure. Alternatively, when we are living in a concrete house we are protected from natural calamities such as rain and wild animals.

Origin of “As Safe as Houses”

The phrase “as safe as houses” is a Victorian phrase. It was used in the same sense as it is used now. It appeared in the first printed version of the play, Timour the Tartar, written by M. G. Lewis. It was first published in 1850. The phrase goes, “Well then, I’ll give my word that Timour’s life; Shall be safe as houses.”

Safe can also be interpreted as ‘certainly’ or ‘undoubtedly’, as used in James Friswell’s novel Out & About, 1860: “No uncertainty here, guv’nor,” answered one of his captors. “You’re booked, safe as houses.”

Following this, it has been in constant use in literature and journalist with the same meanings.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Safe as Houses by Silence Dogood

My dad use to tell me that we were safe in our home.
That there’s nothing to worry I would never be alone.
Of all the lies that would be his best.
Heart pounding inside my chest.

safe as houses

He always kept a light on so darkness wouldn’t win.
Shading me from racism and differences in skin.
Bearing on the shoulders the weight of all our shame.
Worthless and nothing a token to my name.

safe as houses

He said we’d have a future that we would follow our dreams.
But our life was ripped apart torn away at the seams.
They snatched us from our beds brought us to a new place.
Where racism was natural and blacks were a disgrace.

safe as houses

All promises were broken as I was sold at a price.
Just a mere dollar was the cost for my life.
I was told to work hard or dinner wouldn’t happen.
It was unlikely a stupid misshappen.

safe as houses

This poem explains the major thematic strand of the safety of houses. The poem starts with the advice of the father to his son, the poet, that houses are always safe. However, this safety the poet has experienced has kept him secure from risks as well as racial hatred. When the poet grows into an adult and a vigorous young man, he is sent to earn his livelihood which he thinks is a betrayal of his father who used to promise him the safety of the house. The phrase has been used as a refrain as well as a repetition.

Example #2

Safe as House by Akung

Safe as houses
Tuck me in
Daylight waits for no man
Your’re still young and breathing’s easy
Suck it in
What a wasteless façade
What a pity we’ve come this far

Our lucious denial
Our devoured minds
Our thoughts remain impotent
Our pillows stay fertile

Safe as houses
Tuck me in
Daylight waits for no man
Your’re still young and breathing’s easy
Suck it in
What a wasteless façade
What a pity we’ve come this far

The above stanzas from the song Safe as House is about the poet’s desire. He wants his beloved to make him feel as safe as houses. The speaker also tells the opposite person that they should get together while they are still young. The poet uses the phrase as he believes that spending the night with his love is equal to safety given by the house.

Example #3

Safe as House by Marie Helen Bertino

The author narrates the story of a professor who is engaged in mourning the death of his wife. He vandalizes his own houses after taking a relic of his wife to teach others that life means something else what they understand. In fact, Bertino’s proposition in this story is that though houses are considered safe, sometimes they become relics of the past reminding the people who are gone and some old memories that do not let them sit or sleep in peace. The title of the story is highly ironic that a house is supposed to be a secure place, but the professor vandalizes it to make others realize his trauma.

Example #4

Safe as Houses by Eric Walters

This novel of Eric Walters narrates the story of a young girl, Elizabeth. She has a part-time job as a baby-sitter. Although she enjoys her job, David, the young toddler, gives her a very tough time. The table turns on her when Hurricane Hazel brings disaster in Toronto leaving the parents unable to reach home. Elizabeth is left alone to take care of the toddlers in the heavy flooding. As mentioned in the title, Elizabeth and the children remain safe as they stay within the walls of their house.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Orlando often feels as safe as houses when he has his family around him.”

Example #2: “When you get all the luxury you dreamed of and buy a property in the best part of the city, you will feel as safe as houses.”

Example #3: “Larry and his family believed that they will be as safe as houses during the hurricane. However, the storm blew away the roof over the house.”

Example #4: “Do you know that poor people live on the streets and yet feel as safe as houses?”

Example #5: “Hal was not happy when the fences were under construction. He wanted them built soon to feel as safe as houses.”