Err on the right side.  Err on the safe side.  Err on the side of caution

 What exactly do these terms mean?

 

Err – means to make errors.

 

Err on the right side:

How do you make errors if you are on the right side?  Actually, the meaning is not to make errors if you are right.  It means to act with extreme caution, and to do things following what everyone else would think is right, and which would cause the least harm were a mistake or an error to occur.

 

Err on the safe side:

Similarly, this phrase does not mean to make errors if you play safe.  It means to act with extreme caution, and to do things following the safe path rather than taking any chance of committing an error or a mistake.

 

Err on the side of caution:

You probably know it by now that this does not mean to make errors if you are cautious.  It means to act with extreme caution, and to do things following the cautious path to prevent any possible harm from a mistake or an error if it were to occur. 

 

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