Err on the Side of Caution! Idioms are figurative phrases used over many years to convey thoughts and feelings about a person or thing. They are considered to be a form of informal conversation and are meant not to be taken in the literal sense of the words within the phrase. “Err on the side of caution” is a popular idiom used today. Here you will find the meaning of the phrase, the story behind its origin, examples of how to use it properly conversations/statements and other ways to say the phrase in a more literal sense.
Err on the Side of Caution
Err on the Side of Caution Meaning
The phrase “err on the side of caution” means to calculate carefully and plan ahead, rather than take a risk or make an error.
Origin of this idiom
The phrase “err on the side of caution” was derived from the meaning of the word err. To err means to make a mistake. “On the side of caution” was added after the word to imply that one should be careful and plan ahead rather than being unprepared and make an error. Err first appeared at part of a phrase back in the year 1678 as part of a phrase written by author Thomas Jones in the book titled Of the Heart, and its Right to Soveraign.
“Err on the Side of Caution” Examples
Examples in Statements
A wedding planner offering tips and advice about the proper way to plan a reception.
- “It is always better to err on the side of caution and order more food to have enough to feed everyone, including some unexpected guests.“
A from a pest control company on their webpage.
- “A homeowner may want to err on the side of caution and have their home inspected if they know that their neighbor’s house has been treated for pests recently.”
Examples in Conversation
A father speaking to his daughter about a dress he is buying for his mom.
- Father: Hey, Heather, do you think your mom would like this dress?
- Daughter: Yes! I think she would love it. It’s her favorite color!
- Father: I thought so. I just don’t know what size to get her. I think I will err on the side of caution and just buy her one size smaller than I think she is.
A son speaking to his mother about attending his football game.
- Son: Mom, I don’t think I am going to go to the game tonight.
- Mother: Why not?
- Son: Because I have not been feeling well all day and I would rather err on the side of caution than end up getting sick while on the field.
- It’s always best to err on the side of caution.
- I thought it was better to err on the side of caution.
- Travel agents are urging their clients to err on the side of caution.
Other Ways to Say “Err on the Side of Caution”
As is the case with almost all idioms, these figurative expressions can be conveyed in much more literal terms. For instance, saying better safe than sorry and better to plan than be unprepared are more literal terms that relate the same meaning.
“Err on the Side of Caution” synonyms list:
- Take precautions
- Erring on the side of caution
- Be cautious
- Be careful
- Take care
- Be very careful
- Be safe
- Make sure
- Safe than sorry
- Better safe than sorry
- Be on the safe side