\ ˈker How to pronounce care (audio) \
plural cares

Essential Meaning of care

1 : effort made to do something correctly, safely, or without causing damage She used care in selecting a doctor for her son. a box marked "Handle With Care" [=handle carefully]
2 : things that are done to keep someone healthy, safe, etc. The children have inadequate medical care and little formal education. We need to provide poor people with better dental care. See More ExamplesHe is under a doctor's care. [=is being treated by a doctor] The boys were in the care of [=being looked after by] their grandparents.Hide
3 : things that are done to keep something in good condition She wrote a book about car care. With proper care, the machine should last a decade or more. See More ExamplesShe is an expert on skin/hair care. She knows a lot about the care and feeding of horses. These machines don't need a lot of care and feeding. [=maintenance]Hide

Full Definition of care

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : suffering of mind : grief
2a : a disquieted state of mixed uncertainty, apprehension, and responsibility oppressed by sickness, grief, or care— William Wordsworth also : something that causes such a state : a particular worry, concern, etc. Relax and leave all your cares behind.
b : a cause for such anxiety
3a : painstaking or watchful attention his gentlemen conduct me with all care to some securest lodging— John Keats — see also take care
b : maintenance floor-care products — see also take care of
4 : regard coming from desire or esteem a care for the common good
5 : charge, supervision left the house in his care especially : responsibility for or attention to health, well-being, and safety under a doctor's care — see also health care, take care of
6 : a person or thing that is an object of attention, anxiety, or solicitude The flower garden was her special care.


cared; caring

Definition of care (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to feel trouble or anxiety cared for his safety
b : to feel interest or concern care about freedom
2 : to give care care for the sick
3a : to have a liking, fondness, or taste don't care for your attitude
b : to have an inclination would you care for some pie

transitive verb

1 : to be concerned about or to the extent of don't care what they say doesn't care a damn
2 : wish if you care to go
care less
: not to care used positively and negatively with the same meaning I could care less what happensI couldn't care less what happens

Other Words from care


carer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of care in a Sentence

Noun She used care in selecting a doctor for her son. The children have inadequate medical care and little formal education. We need to provide poor people with better dental care. She wrote a book about car care. With proper care, the machine should last a decade or more. She is an expert on skin care. She knows a lot about the care and feeding of horses. She looks as if all the cares of the world are on her shoulders. Verb He doesn't care if he gets fired. I care what happens to her. On Valentine's Day, send her flowers to show that you care. I didn't know you cared. I wouldn't care to be in your shoes right now. I'm going for a walk. Would you care to join me? He'll show the photos to anyone who cares to see them. More factors influenced her decision than she cares to admit.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Moderna's booster shot is authorized for people 65 and older, those living in long-term care facilities and adults with underlying medical conditions or who are at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus because of their jobs. NBC News, 18 Nov. 2021 People who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2021 All but one of the current board members have a manager or administrator license to run care facilities. Caitlin Mcglade, The Arizona Republic, 15 Nov. 2021 People in long-term care facilities have borne a cruel toll from the pandemic. The Associated. Press, Arkansas Online, 14 Nov. 2021 The rule applies to more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities, according to a White House statement. Julie Washington, cleveland, 12 Nov. 2021 As of right now, booster shots are only approved for specific people (those who are 65 or older, or those over the age of 18 who work or live in high-risk or long-term care facilities, or have underlying conditions). Elizabeth Narins,, 11 Nov. 2021 Beam required that students, staff and visitors at K-12 schools and child care facilities wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Fox News, 10 Nov. 2021 The bill did not specify funds for child care facilities that may need abatement. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Early Broadway audiences appear not to have heard, or not to care, about the unfortunate publicity. New York Times, 16 Nov. 2021 The most important rule to keep in mind is that, in most cases, your clients don’t actually care about the technology. Mark Schlesinger, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Justin Holiday doesn't care about being a starter or reserve. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 15 Nov. 2021 And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Nov. 2021 Trailer scripts don’t typically leak because people don’t care as much about what studios show in trailers. Chris Smith, BGR, 15 Nov. 2021 Welch did not care about fancy educational credentials, clubs, or social status. Fortune, 12 Nov. 2021 If viewers don't care about Betsy, the story doesn't work. Samantha Highfill,, 10 Nov. 2021 The child care tax credit expires alongside next year's midterm elections, while much of the health care funding will expire in 2025, ensuring a campaign issue ahead of the next presidential election. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 29 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'care.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of care


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for care


Middle English, "sorrow, distress, concern," going back to Old English cearu, caru, going back to Germanic *karō (whence also Old Saxon kara "sorrow, worry," Old High German chara, Old Norse kǫr "sickbed," Gothic kara "concern") perhaps going back to an Indo-European base *ǵeh2r-, *ǵh2r- "make a sound, cry," whence Old Irish ad-gair "(s/he) accuses, sues," Middle Irish gáir "shout, cry," Welsh gawr, Greek gêrys "voice, speech," Middle Persian zryg, zryq "sorrow, suffering," Ossetic (Iron dialect) zæl- "make a sound," zar- "sing"

Note: The original meaning of the Indo-European verb base was perhaps "bewail the deceased," which might account for the divergent meanings "sorrow, care" and "make a sound, cry"; though given that the former meaning is only attested in Iranian and Germanic (in which the putative sense "make a sound," if it ever existed, has left no trace), it may be more likely that two separate Indo-European bases, one perhaps sound-symbolic, have partially merged. Note that the Indo-European reconstruction *ǵeh2r-, *ǵh2r- is based solely on presumed canonical root structure, as the only attested vocalisms for the base are *gar- and *gār-. Latin garrīre "to chatter, jabber," with geminate r, may be an unrelated onomatopoeic formation.


Middle English caren "to grieve, be anxious, be solicitous," going back to Old English cearian, carian, going back to Germanic *karōjan- (whence Old Saxon karon "to lament," Old High German karōn, Gothic karon "to be concerned"), derivative of *karō "sorrow, worry" — more at care entry 1

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Time Traveler for care

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The first known use of care was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near care

card voting


care a hoot

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Care.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for care


\ ˈker How to pronounce care (audio) \

Kids Definition of care

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serious attention Care is needed when crossing a busy street.
2 : protection sense 1, supervision The injured player is under a doctor's care.
3 : proper maintenance of property or equipment
4 : a feeling of concern or worry He acts as if he hasn't a care in the world.


cared; caring

Kids Definition of care (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to feel interest or concern We care about what happens to you.
2 : to provide help, protection, or supervision to : look after His job is to care for the sick.
3 : to have a liking or desire Do you care for more tea?


\ ˈka(ə)r, ˈke(ə)r How to pronounce care (audio) \

Medical Definition of care

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

Other Words from care

care intransitive verb cared; caring



Legal Definition of care

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

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.

2a : personal supervision or responsibility : charge

More from Merriam-Webster on care

Nglish: Translation of care for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of care for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about care


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