Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈker\

Simple Definition of care

  • : effort made to do something correctly, safely, or without causing damage

  • : things that are done to keep someone healthy, safe, etc.

  • : things that are done to keep something in good condition

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of care

  1. 1 :  suffering of mind :  grief

  2. 2 a :  a disquieted state of mixed uncertainty, apprehension, and responsibility b :  a cause for such anxiety

  3. 3 a :  painstaking or watchful attention b :  maintenance <floor-care products>

  4. 4 :  regard coming from desire or esteem

  5. 5 :  charge, supervision <under a doctor's care>

  6. 6 :  a person or thing that is an object of attention, anxiety, or solicitude

Examples of care in a sentence

  1. She used care in selecting a doctor for her son.

  2. The children have inadequate medical care and little formal education.

  3. We need to provide poor people with better dental care.

  4. She wrote a book about car care.

  5. With proper care, the machine should last a decade or more.

  6. She is an expert on skin care.

  7. She knows a lot about the care and feeding of horses.

  8. She looks as if all the cares of the world are on her shoulders.

Origin of care

Middle English, from Old English caru; akin to Old High German kara lament, Old Irish gairm call, cry, Latin garrire to chatter

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of care

care, concern, solicitude, anxiety, worry mean a troubled or engrossed state of mind or the thing that causes this. care implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension <a face worn by years of care>. concern implies a troubled state of mind because of personal interest, relation, or affection <crimes caused concern in the neighborhood>. solicitude implies great concern and connotes either thoughtful or hovering attentiveness toward another <acted with typical maternal solicitude>. anxiety stresses anguished uncertainty or fear of misfortune or failure <plagued by anxiety and self-doubt>. worry suggests fretting over matters that may or may not be real cause for anxiety <financial worries>.




Simple Definition of care

  • : to feel interest in something : to be interested in or concerned about something

  • : to feel affection for someone

  • : to want to do something or to be something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of care


  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to feel trouble or anxiety b :  to feel interest or concern <care about freedom>

  3. 2 :  to give care <care for the sick>

  4. 3 a :  to have a liking, fondness, or taste <don't care for your attitude> b :  to have an inclination <would you care for some pie>

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1 :  to be concerned about or to the extent of <don't care what they say> <doesn't care a damn>

  7. 2 :  wish <if you care to go>

carer noun
care less
  1. :  not to care —used positively and negatively with the same meaning <I could care less what happens> <I couldn't care less what happens>

Examples of care in a sentence

  1. He doesn't care if he gets fired.

  2. I care what happens to her.

  3. On Valentine's Day, send her flowers to show that you care.

  4. I didn't know you cared.

  5. I wouldn't care to be in your shoes right now.

  6. I'm going for a walk. Would you care to join me?

  7. He'll show the photos to anyone who cares to see them.

  8. More factors influenced her decision than she cares to admit.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of care

before 12th century

CARE Defined for Kids



noun \ˈker\

Definition of care for Students

  1. 1 :  serious attention <Care is needed when crossing a busy street.>

  2. 2 :  protection 1, supervision <The injured player is under a doctor's care.>

  3. 3 :  proper maintenance of property or equipment

  4. 4 :  a feeling of concern or worry <He acts as if he hasn't a care in the world.>




Definition of care for Students


  1. 1 :  to feel interest or concern <We care about what happens to you.>

  2. 2 :  to provide help, protection, or supervision to :  look after <His job is to care for the sick.>

  3. 3 :  to have a liking or desire <Do you care for more tea?>

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈka(ə)r, ˈke(ə)r\

Medical Definition of care

  1. :  responsibility for or attention to health, well-being, and safety—see acute care, health care, intensive care, primary care, tertiary care

care intransitive verb cared; caring

Law Dictionary



Legal Definition of care

  1. 1 :  watchful or protective attention, caution, concern, prudence, or regard usually towards an action or situation; especially :  due care <a person has a duty to use care in dealing with others, and failure to do so is negligence — R. I. Mehr> — see also due care, negligence, standard of care Editor's note: Statute, case law, and custom often impose a duty of care. The degree or standard of care owed varies depending on the circumstances. For example, a landlord has to exercise greater care in relation to a tenant than to a trespasser.

  2. 2a :  personal supervision or responsibility :  charge b :  maintenance

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up care? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove perplex reduce soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.