err on the side of caution

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err on the side of caution

  1. (idiomatic) To act in the least risky manner in a situation in which one is uncertain about the consequences.
    • 1867 Jan. 15, "The Impeachment of the President—Probabilities and Possibilities," New York Times p. 4:
      They are all zealous to the last degree in support of the extreme policy. . . . They certainly will not err on the side of caution.
    • 1976 Oct. 29, James J. Kilpatrick, "Bureacracy Infects Drug Industry," St. Petersburg Independent/Washington Star Syndicate, p. 23-A (retrieved 1 Oct 2008):
      In any uncertain situation, government tends to err on the side of caution and delay.
    • 2008 Sept. 17, Kara Gammell, "Cash in on the high interest rates," The Telegraph (UK) (retrieved 1 Oct. 2008):
      But many savers are more concerned with the safety of their deposits and are even spreading their money over several institutions to err on the side of caution.


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