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 caution (audio) \

Definition of caution (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

Other Words from caution


cautionary \ ˈkȯ-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce caution (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most communities, however, opted to cancel the festivities out of an abundance of caution. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 28 June 2022 These penalties range from a letter of caution to expulsion. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 28 June 2022 Martinez said, however, the abundance of caution taken for all the athletes wasn’t a bad idea when no one knew what to expect from the new virus. Meredith Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 27 June 2022 As a word of caution, avoid processes that force you to be in the office at a certain time. Libby Rothschild, Forbes, 27 June 2022 Overall, China’s box office continues to ail, with sizable pockets of cinemas across the country still closed as a COVID precaution and consumer activity suppressed by mass testing and a prevailing sense of caution. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 June 2022 In a sign of caution, investors bought assets viewed as among the safest to hold—despite U.S. stocks being on track to post gains. WSJ, 17 June 2022 Not every idea has elicited the same degree of caution. Charlie Savage,, 16 June 2022 Many specified that the threat was not made against their districts, but closures would take place out of an abundance of caution. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, 15 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But scientists caution that planning ahead in this pandemic is challenging. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, 29 June 2022 Department officials noted the Illinois EPA’s 2020-21 investigation did not find PFAS at the city’s two treatment plants, but scientists caution the chemicals are widespread in the Great Lakes. Michael Hawthorne, Chicago Tribune, 26 June 2022 Scientists caution against anthropomorphizing P-22, but Angelenos can’t help but see themselves in the big cat. Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2022 With soils statewide at 68% of saturation, more water will likely flow downhill, although NRCS scientists caution that deeper mountain soils remain drier than usual. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Apr. 2022 Scientists caution that technology has limitations, with LED lights, sensors and operating systems adding to utility costs. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2022 But scientists caution that such reinfections appear rare, especially over a short period of time, and may be overestimated due to confusion over testing. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 10 Feb. 2022 Scientists caution, however, that caseloads and hospital admissions may yet reverse course as social mixing increases with the end of the holiday season and the start of the new school term. Jason Douglas, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 Scientists caution that little is known about the variant, which has been linked to a surge of cases in South Africa. Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near caution




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Statistics for caution

Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Caution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for caution


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

More from Merriam-Webster on caution

Nglish: Translation of caution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caution for Arabic Speakers


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