careful

adjective
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

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Other Words from careful

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

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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Get ready to be charmed, as the rest of us have been, by your maternal grandmother, Doria Ragland, but be careful around anyone whose last name is Markle. Elizabeth Holmes, Town & Country, "An Open Letter to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's New Royal Baby," 7 May 2019 Be careful not to pull any of the grout from the joints. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Your Quick and Dirty Guide to Tiling a Kitchen Backsplash," 26 Apr. 2019 But Ho is careful to note that the focus on wellness shouldn’t be downplayed as a trend or marketing gimmick. Christina Pérez, Vogue, "The New Cannabis Companies Want to Give You a “Wellness Experience”," 20 Apr. 2019 Selleck has been careful to balance his stardom with a devotion to family life and privacy. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Tom Selleck Is Writing a Memoir About His Extremely Private Life," 13 Apr. 2019 In a way, AMD is daring Intel to match it on core and pricing—a skirmish Intel has been careful to avoid so far. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's 32-core Threadripper dares Intel to match it on cores and price," 6 Aug. 2018 Squid’s chewy texture is mitigated by a careful lattice of shallow cuts, its flavor accented with a touch of tobiko and shiso. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "No-frills Sushi Nakano one of the best casual sushi restaurants in Phoenix," 10 July 2018 James had spent the entire season delicately ducking questions and dropping bread crumbs, careful not to tip his hand while still ensuring that his upcoming free-agency decision never left the headlines. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "LeBron Cashes Out With Lakers, Eyes Mayweather's Riches and Whole New Level of Fame," 2 July 2018 Heo sipped canned coffee and munched a bulgogi sandwich, careful not to spill anything on his fashionably cut suit. Joseph Hincks / Seoul, Time, "President Trump and Kim Jong Un's Historic Summit Could Signal a 'Major Change.' What Do North Korean Defectors Think?," 12 June 2018

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.

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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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Learn More about careful

Statistics for careful

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for careful

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

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More Definitions for careful

careful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of careful

: using care
: made, done, or said with care

careful

adjective
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on careful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for careful

Spanish Central: Translation of careful

Nglish: Translation of careful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of careful for Arabic Speakers

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