care·ful | \-fəl \
carefuller; carefullest

Definition of careful 

1 archaic

a : solicitous, anxious

b : filling with care or solicitude

2 : exercising or taking care careful of a child's welfare

3a : marked by attentive concern and solicitude careful farm management

b : marked by wary caution or prudence be very careful with knives

c : marked by painstaking effort to avoid errors or omissions often used with of or an infinitive careful of moneycareful to adjust the machine

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Other Words from careful

carefully \-f(ə-)lē \ adverb
carefulness \-fəl-nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for careful


conscientious, fussy, loving, meticulous, painstaking, scrupulous



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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

Jenner's feat, experts say, took a careful mastery of name recognition mixed with social-media influence. Rachel Siegel,, "Kylie Jenner is on track to become the youngest self-made billionaire. Ever.," 14 July 2018 In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry took a careful stance. Costas Kantouris And Menelaos Hadjicostis, Fox News, "Greece expels Russian diplomats over alleged protest money," 13 July 2018 However, without careful planning, these owners can harm their businesses, their exits, and their long-term family relationships. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner,, "Careful planning essential when transferring business ownership to children," 11 July 2018 Karen Bashaw sat on a bench keeping a careful eye on him. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Keeping Cool At Owen Bell Park," 11 July 2018 But the elements shouldn't be a problem after the work is complete, Coutts said, due to careful selection of materials and vigilance during the restoration process. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Iconic Tower Records mural in downtown is getting a little love," 10 July 2018 Teko Harmon, a manager for the authentication center, said the staff will wear white showroom gloves for extra careful handling whenever a pair of Air MAGs arrives. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Fast-growing Detroit startup StockX sniffs out fake sneakers," 9 July 2018 In the careful curation of her image as a neutral pop star, there’s no room for Fourth of July parties., "What It Means If Taylor Swift Skips Another Fourth Of July Party," 3 July 2018 Mercury retrograde fuels frustrating miscommunications, so avoid social calamities with extra careful expression. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What July's Leo Horoscope Means for You," 29 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 1a

History and Etymology for careful

see care entry 1

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Phrases Related to careful

(be) careful what you wish for

Statistics for careful

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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



English Language Learners Definition of careful

: using care

: made, done, or said with care


care·ful | \ˈker-fəl \

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

Comments on careful

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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