What is the meaning behind the suffix "-halber" in the word sicherheitshalber? Is it like "to be on the safe side/half"? Still, if so, why does it come with the "-er"?

1 Answer 1


"Sicherheitshalber" is a composition of the noun "Sicherheit" with the preposition "halber", which means "for reasons of ..." or "due to ...". According to the Duden it is derived from an old word for "Hälfte" or "Seite", so you could maybe think of it as "to be on the side of ...".

So "sicherheitshalber" means "to be on the safe side", "for safety reasons" or "to be sure".

  • 3
    This is exactly the same metaphor as "erring on the side of caution", so "sicherheitshalber" is in fact a central instance of this pattern - but there are others, e.g. "der Vollständigkeit halber". Sep 23, 2014 at 8:20
  • 6
    There is something very similar in English > on the behalf of safety Here, "half" is used to express the idea of reason, too.
    – Emanuel
    Sep 23, 2014 at 9:25

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