Using 'Seguro' in Spanish

Adjective can refer to safety, security, certainty

Caution train crossing
Sign at rail crossing in San José, Costa Rica.

Alfonse Pagano / Getty Images

As a cognate of the English word "secure," seguro has most of the meanings of "secure" as well as a few of its own. It is used most often to refer to safety, security, dependability, and certainly, concepts that overlap. The most common translations are "secure," "safe," and "certain," although others are possible.

Seguro Referring to Safety

Some examples of seguro as an adjective referring to safety:

  • Según las estadísticas, el avión es el medio de transporte más seguro. (Statistically, the airplane is the safest form of transport.)
  • Los padres quieren saber que son seguros los juegos que están jugando sus hijos. (The parents want to know that the games their children are playing are safe.)
  • El hotel cerca del aeropuerto es el último lugar seguro. (The hotel near the airport is the ultimate safe place.)
  • Necesito un silloncito seguro para el bebé. (I need a safe chair for the baby.)
  • Haz tu casa segura para tu familia. (Make your home safe for your family.)
  • ¿Alguien sabe de una fuente segura de medicina? (Does anyone know of a safe source of medicine?)

Seguro Related to Security

Seguro is commonly used as an adjective when referring to various kinds of security, both physical and virtual:

  • Sus datos estarán seguros. (Your data will be secure.)
  • La ciudad tiene una estación de trenes segura y accesible. (The city has a secure and accessible train station.)
  • Los teléfonos móviles ya no son seguros. (Cellphones still aren't secure.)
  • La Sala de Situaciones de la Casa Blanca posee sistemas de comunicaciones seguras. (The White House Situation Room has secure communications systems.)
  • ¿Se puede lograr que una ciudad sea segura contra los terroristas que utilizan vehículos como armas? (Can a city achieve being secure against terrorists who use vehicles as weapons?)

Other Meanings for Seguro

In some contexts, seguro can refer to reliability or trustworthiness:

  • No puedo arriesgar la vida de mis hombres en un plan poco seguro. (I can't risk the life of my men on an undependable plan.)
  • Necesito respuestas seguras porque me muero de nervios. (I need reliable answers because I'm dying of anxiety.)
  • La biometría está creciendo como método seguro de identificación de usuarios. (Biometrics is in creating as an effective method of user identification.)

Seguro can refer to certainty:

  • La etimología de la palabra no es segura. (The etymology of the word isn't certain.)
  • No estoy seguro de cómo ayudar a alguien con problemas financieros. (I'm not sure how to help someone with financial problems.)
  • Pasaron tres o cuatro minutos, no estoy seguro. (Three or four minutes passed, I'm not sure.)

Note again that the meanings above can overlap, and context may be necessary to determine what is meant. For example, one of the sentence above — Los teléfonos móviles ya no son seguros — came from an article about the security of information transmitted over the airwaves. But in a different context, the same sentence might have been referring to whether such cellphones can cause cancer.

Seguro as a Noun

As a noun, el seguro can refer to a safe place in general, or more specifically as a safety latch or other device that keeps something or someone safe. (In some regions, it can refer specifically to a safety pin.) A seguro can also refer to an insurance policy, especially one covering health or protection for injuries.

  • Muchos alpinistas prefieran los mosquetones con seguros de acero. (Many climbers prefer carabiners with steel screw locks.)
  • El seguro casero se requiere en cualquier préstamo casero. (Homeowners' insurance is required for any home loan.)
  • Tiene seguros especiales para que el bebé se quede fijo a la hamaca. (We have special devices so the baby can remain attached to the hammock.)

Related Words and Etymology

Words related to seguro include asegurar (to assure, to insure, to secure, to make sure), segurar (a shortened version of asegurar), seguridad (security, safety), and seguramente (securely, surely, probably).

Seguro comes from the Latin securus, which had a similar meaning. The most closely related English words are "secure," "sure," and "security," although there is also a more distant relationship with "secret" (secreto in Spanish).

Key Takeaways

  • Seguro is related to the English word "secure" and usually is an adjective that conveys the idea of safety or security.
  • In some contexts, seguro can convey the idea of certainty or usefulness.
  • As noun, seguro often refers to insurance or a thing that provides for safety.