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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Of all the pledges Tedros made, this is the only one the global health agency can actually take care of on its own. Helen Branswell, STAT, 2 Aug. 2022 Luckily, your company can take care of this for you. Chris Carosa, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 This is going to do -- take care of that, because this is aggressively producing more energy to get more supply to get the prices down. CBS News, 31 July 2022 After her son Krzys was born, Niklas gave up on her career as an architect to take care of him full time. Katrin Bennhold,, 30 July 2022 After her son Krzys was born, Ms. Niklas gave up on her career as an architect to take care of him full time. New York Times, 30 July 2022 Yet does that outsider also have to take care in how those cuisines are presented to those who’ve grown up inside the culture? Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2022 The club also needs to take care of business at TQL Stadium, and there still won't be much margin for error for Cincinnati the rest of the way. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 29 July 2022 As always, take care of the landscape and use best-wilderness practices. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the part of me that doesn't want to cry on cue, that doesn't want to act, that doesn't care about pleasing Mom and just wants to please me, that part of me screams at me to speak up. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 2 Aug. 2022 Generally, small-business owners genuinely care about their customers and want to help them. Clate Mask, WSJ, 29 July 2022 His is a technocratic party, the voters of which care about the nuances of government action and for which wonkery is an asset. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 28 July 2022 That’s true for the LA schools who really care about Olympic sports and sponsor a lot of them. Scott Nover, Quartz, 20 July 2022 That requires convincing leaders to care and electing leaders who do. Emma Marris, The New Republic, 19 July 2022 Why should anyone care about this human resource challenge? Dave Opsahl, Forbes, 15 July 2022 Our owners care greatly about the entire staff here. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 July 2022 Why should Phoenix Suns fans care about the 2022 NBA draft? Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 23 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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care a hoot

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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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

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