cau·​tion | \ ˈkȯ-shən How to pronounce caution (audio) \

Definition of caution

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : warning, admonishment Her comments were intended as a caution to us to protect our property.
2 : precaution a surgeon taking the caution of sterilizing his instruments
3 : prudent forethought to minimize risk Use caution when operating a chain saw.
4 : one that astonishes or commands attention some shoes you see … these days are a cautionEsquire


cautioned; cautioning\ ˈkȯ-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce cautioning (audio) \

Definition of caution (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to advise caution to : warn She cautioned him not to act rashly.

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Other Words from caution


cautionary \ ˈkȯ-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce cautionary (audio) , -​ne-​rē \ adjective

Examples of caution in a Sentence

Noun You should use caution when operating the electric saw. He injected a note of caution in his talk. Her financial adviser urged caution before investing in the project. The roads are slippery: drive with extreme caution. Her comments were intended as a caution to us to protect our property. A note of caution: be sure that the electricity is off before you install the ceiling fan. She was given a caution by the magistrate. Verb Officials are cautioning that the war may continue for years. “Don't decide too quickly,” she cautioned. He was cautioned for speeding.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Out of an abundance of caution, the plant followed all cleaning and disinfecting protocols of the employee’s work area. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "FCA: Worker whose condition prompts stoppage at Jefferson North negative for COVID-19," 26 June 2020 The decision to move the service online this year was made out of an abundance of caution as COVID-19 cases in the state have continued to rise, said Frances Lechner, president of the Yarnell Area Resource Group. Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, "Remembering the Granite Mountain Hotshots: 7th anniversary ceremony to be different this year," 25 June 2020 On the PGA Tour, McDowell, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson were among five players who withdrew from the Travelers Championship, four of them out of a chain reaction of caution. Staff And News Services,, "NBA, MLB and PGA Tour players test positive for new coronavirus," 24 June 2020 The question of how US schools should be reopened—on what sort of schedule, with what degree of caution—has yet to be determined. David Zweig, Wired, "It’s Ridiculous to Treat Schools Like Covid Hot Zones," 24 June 2020 Tempe police were able to contain the man inside the Red Robin while evacuating the restaurant's employees and patrons, as well as people inside other nearby businesses out of an abundance of caution, Barela said. Emily Wilder, azcentral, "Police arrest man they say pointed BB gun at employees at Tempe Marketplace," 22 June 2020 The costs of the pandemic have swept away the benefits of caution. The Economist, "The state-budget train crash," 18 June 2020 The final bit of good news comes from a place of caution. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Dexamethasone’s supply chain is the most exciting thing about it," 18 June 2020 The DeHarts, erring on the side of caution, closed the distillery in mid-March, even before the county and state issued stay-at-home orders. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "This Lewisville distillery shows why Congress put small businesses at forefront of coronavirus relief," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even if widespread stay-at-home orders don’t happen, the fear is that scared shoppers may still shy away from stores and businesses may pull back on their own spending, analysts caution. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Stocks slump as global coronavirus tally approaches 9M," 23 June 2020 Some money managers and strategists caution this could point to additional volatility ahead, given that prices have rebounded while expectations for corporate earnings are significantly lower than before the coronavirus. Karen Langley And Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, "Nasdaq Hits Another Record as Tech Shares Fuel Rally," 23 June 2020 Energy analysts caution China’s prowess means the U.S. strategy can’t just be to expand domestic production. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Republicans prepare for energy ‘cold war’ with China," 17 June 2020 Abbott took to the airwaves on Monday to caution Texans in their 20s that too many of them are taking COVID-19 too lightly. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Watch live: Gov. Greg Abbott talks about rising coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas," 16 June 2020 Doctors caution there is no evidence dexamethasone can prevent coronavirus infection, and should not be used as a prophylactic. NBC News, "Common steroid found to reduce deaths in sickest COVID-19 patients, researchers say," 16 June 2020 But understanding the extent of true immunity is an exercise in humility, scientists caution. Los Angeles Times, "As the economy reopens, scientists still have a lot to learn about coronavirus immunity," 12 June 2020 Outdoor playgrounds are now open in Ohio, meaning basketball nets can go up and caution tape can be taken down. Sarah Brookbank,, "Ohio playgrounds can reopen today: How to play safe during coronavirus pandemic," 10 June 2020 But those same Republican Party officials caution that the search is ongoing and remains fluid. John Roberts, Fox News, "Jacksonville seen as 'strong contender' in RNC search for new convention site," 10 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caution.' 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 caution


1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1683, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caution


Latin caution-, cautio precaution, from cavēre to be on one's guard — more at hear

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Time Traveler for caution

Time Traveler

The first known use of caution was in 1566

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Statistics for caution

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for caution


How to pronounce caution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of caution

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: care taken to avoid danger or risk : a careful attitude or way of behaving
: a warning telling someone to be careful
British, law : a spoken official warning given to someone who has done something illegal but has not committed a serious crime



English Language Learners Definition of caution (Entry 2 of 2)

: to warn or tell (someone) about a possible danger, problem, etc.
British, law : to give a caution to (someone)


cau·​tion | \ ˈkȯ-shən How to pronounce caution (audio) \

Kids Definition of caution

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : care taken to avoid trouble or danger : precaution They approached the dog with caution.
2 : warning a word of caution


cautioned; cautioning

Kids Definition of caution (Entry 2 of 2)

: to warn about danger

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More from Merriam-Webster on caution

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for caution

Spanish Central: Translation of caution

Nglish: Translation of caution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caution for Arabic Speakers

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