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err on the side of caution

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
If I shall sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I'm sure that, for me, there would be nothing left worth living for.
Henry David Thoreau
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English

Verb

to err on the side of caution

  1. (idiomatic) To act in the least risky manner in a situation where one is uncertain about the consequences.
    • 1867, "The Impeachment of the President—Probabilities and Possibilities," New York Times, 15 Jan., 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, James J. Kilpatrick, "Bureacracy Infects Drug Industry," St. Petersburg Independent/Washington Star Syndicate, 29 Oct., p. 23-A (retrieved 1 Oct. 2008),
      In any uncertain situation, government tends to err on the side of caution and delay.
    • 2008, Kara Gammell, "Cash in on the high interest rates," The Telegraph (UK), 17 Sep. (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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