care·​ful | \ ˈker-fəl How to pronounce careful (audio) \
carefuller; carefullest

Definition of careful

1a : marked by wary caution or prudence be very careful with knives
b : marked by attentive concern and solicitude careful farm management
c : marked by painstaking effort to avoid errors or omissions often used with of or an infinitive careful of moneycareful to adjust the machine
2 : exercising or taking care careful of a child's welfare
3 archaic
b : filling with care or solicitude

Other Words from careful

carefully \ ˈker-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce careful (audio) \ adverb
carefulness \ ˈker-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce careful (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for careful

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Examples of careful in a Sentence

He is a careful driver. You can never be too careful about these things. Be careful! The stove is hot! She was careful of their feelings. The police were careful to leave the room exactly as they found it. Police made a careful examination of the scene. They produced a careful study of the building. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Yes, Raymond Pulido of Apple Valley had to be careful with other kids growing up. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Indianapolis activated McLeod and defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis off of the PUP on Wednesday morning, a move that allows the pair to get on the practice field, but the Colts are clearly still planning to be careful with each player. The Indianapolis Star, 27 July 2022 Heat index values will be at dangerous levels into the low 100s, so be careful with outside activity. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 20 July 2022 The first, in purely practical terms, is that it’s currently a heatwave (so just be careful with going outside for too long). Hayden Bird,, 19 July 2022 Due to the signs that the economy is already slowing, Siegel said the Fed must be careful with further hikes to its baseline interest rate. Colin Lodewick, Fortune, 14 July 2022 With only eight games left until the All-Star break, Guardians manager Terry Francona has had to be careful with how to help his young team through these struggles. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 11 July 2022 Cato Corner Rd, Colchester Be careful with this brew. Blaine Callahan, Hartford Courant, 1 July 2022 Web3 apps often position themselves as part of the circular economy—promoting a healthier planet, being careful with resources and reselling pre-loved goods rather than buying fast fashion. Jonathan Kay, Forbes, 29 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of careful

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for careful

see care entry 1

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Time Traveler for careful

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Careful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for careful


care·​ful | \ ˈker-fəl How to pronounce careful (audio) \

Kids Definition of careful

1 : using care a careful driver
2 : made, done, or said with care careful planning She gave a careful answer.

Other Words from careful

carefully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for careful

careful and cautious mean taking care to avoid trouble. careful is used for a person who is able to prevent mistakes or accidents by being alert. Be careful when you paint the fence. cautious is used for a person who takes care to avoid further problems or difficulties. A cautious driver will drive slowly in bad weather.

More from Merriam-Webster on careful

Nglish: Translation of careful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of careful for Arabic Speakers


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