\ 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 Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all above-ground pools are a cinch to take care of in comparison to an in-ground pool. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 At one point or another, most of us have dealt with the pain of damaged or brittle hair, leaving us desperately searching for the best shampoo for dry hair or the best homemade hydrating solutions to take care of the problem. Daisy Maldonado, SELF, 9 May 2022 Several older Hartford students work, or stay home to take care of young siblings. Seamus Mcavoy, Hartford Courant, 8 May 2022 Golden State couldn’t take care of the basketball with four early turnovers. C.j. Holmes, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 May 2022 Native predators will take care of the gnats for you. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 May 2022 Guests have at their disposal an exclusive 24-hour concierge service to take care of their every need — from a private chef or a fitness instructor to a mixologist. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 6 May 2022 Satta asked her to take care of her daughter and the baby. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 But Stéphane has problems of his own, including a drug addiction, and can’t always be there to take care of his parents. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On Monday's episode of the Fox first-responder drama, Aisha Hinds' paramedic enlists her 118 firehouse family to investigate why people keep dying unexpectedly under Jonah's (Bryce Durfee) care. Patrick Gomez,, 9 May 2022 Investors didn't care, however, driving the stock down in sympathy. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 6 May 2022 The rise of these candidates is often attributed to a generational shift: younger people supposedly care more about these issues because the crisis will affect a larger portion of their lives. Raina Lipsitz, The New Republic, 5 May 2022 And Putin doesn't care and is defying the will of the world to allow civilians to be evacuated, to allow food and medicine to get in there. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 1 May 2022 No matter the business model of the airlines, customers will care about the price to at least some extent. Ben Baldanza, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 One person’s high value might be a high salary; another person might care only that their future partner is emotionally intelligent or can hold their own in a conversation. Eve Upton-clark,, 21 Apr. 2022 As if anybody but those historians would care much about the details. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 21 Apr. 2022 Anyone who claimed Cage didn’t care about his career during this era was dead wrong. Zack Sharf, Variety, 18 Apr. 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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Dictionary Entries Near care

card voting


care a hoot

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Care.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 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

Nglish: Translation of care for Spanish Speakers

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


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