care

1 of 2

noun

plural cares
1
: suffering of mind : grief
2
a
: a disquieted state of mixed uncertainty, apprehension, and responsibility
oppressed by sickness, grief, or careWilliam 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
3
a
: painstaking or watchful attention
his gentlemen conduct me with all care to some securest lodgingJohn 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.

care

2 of 2

verb

cared; caring

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
carer noun
Phrases
care less
: not to care
used positively and negatively with the same meaning
I could care less what happens
I couldn't care less what happens
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
Another major challenge—for public health care providers but also for commercial and private entities—will be safely storing the huge amount of genetic data generated through sequencing, something consumers are rightly wary of. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2023 On arriving in the United States, the Ukrainian leader’s first stop was to visit soldiers undergoing rehabilitative surgery for grievous war wounds — an expression of appreciation for their care and to the fighters themselves. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2023 Goodman died from bone cancer while in hospice care in Kent, England on April 22. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 21 Sep. 2023 What’s crucial is that patients be ready to advocate for their care. Fiorella Valdesolo, Vogue, 21 Sep. 2023 Officers learned that Franke had left the three children in Hildebrandt's care, a warrant request states. CBS News, 21 Sep. 2023 Unlike my dad, whose mother returned to claim him after a while, Lily is never restored to her mother’s care. Hillary Kelly, The Atlantic, 19 Sep. 2023 Stephanie Mitchell, a midwife, said access to prenatal care in her region of the state is limited. Bracey Harris, NBC News, 9 Sep. 2023 Health officials say the sweeping actions mandated by government officials earlier in the pandemic were aimed at keeping hospitals from being so overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients that doctors would be forced to ration care — a fear that came close to reality before vaccines were widely available. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2023
Verb
Why do people seem not to notice or care that those around them may not wish to listen to their choice of music? Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023 Most cases get better on their own or respond to care quickly, according to the CDC. Youri Benadjaoud, ABC News, 22 Sep. 2023 But the atmosphere doesn’t care where fossil fuel is burned; the resulting carbon dioxide mixes quickly into the atmosphere and raises temperatures everywhere. Bill McKibben, The New Yorker, 22 Sep. 2023 Their religion, the tenets of which are based on kindness, caring, and love is being co-opted in the name of something entirely other that derives its strength from fear mongering and obfuscation. Brent Lang, Variety, 21 Sep. 2023 Diabetes care is expensive—not everyone can shell out money for injectable drugs such as Ozempic and Mounjaro, or a gadget like a continuous blood glucose monitor. Caitlin Pagán, Verywell Health, 21 Sep. 2023 The royal has dedicated much of his time to visiting with emergency workers, from first responders to care teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 19 Sep. 2023 Conservatives have been especially politically vulnerable on this issue because, rightly or not, they are often perceived to care more about saving ... Henry Olsen, National Review, 19 Sep. 2023 Few politicians seem to care about solving the problem. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, 19 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'care.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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.

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near care

Cite this Entry

“Care.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/care. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

care

1 of 2 noun
ˈke(ə)r How to pronounce care (audio)
ˈka(ə)r
1
: a heavy sense of responsibility
2
: serious attention
take care in crossing streets
3
: protection sense 1, supervision
under a doctor's care
4
: an object of one's care

care

2 of 2 verb
cared; caring
1
: to feel interest or concern
we care what happens
2
: to give care
care for the sick
3
: to have a liking or a desire
would you care for some pie?
carer noun

Medical Definition

: 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
care intransitive verb
cared; caring

Legal Definition

care

noun
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.

2
a
: personal supervision or responsibility : charge

More from Merriam-Webster on care

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