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 Regardless, a certain amount of caution is still needed. Katherine Seley-radtke, The Conversation, "Remdesivir explained – what makes this drug work against viruses?," 6 May 2020 Constantly putting on, taking off, and cleaning PPE with extreme caution., "Heroes among us: Cincinnati essential workers who are battling on the frontlines," 6 May 2020 The rest of the country could continue fairly normally, albeit with caution. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Iceland Is Ready to Reopen After Just 6 Weeks of Lockdown (Video)," 5 May 2020 Likewise, news about drug and vaccine trials should be approached with caution, since clinical trials involve multiple, time-consuming rounds of testing to ensure treatments are both safe and effective for humans. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian Magazine, "How to Avoid Misinformation About COVID-19," 9 Apr. 2020 You are allowed to go outside for exercise and fresh air, but do it with an abundance of caution, including wearing face masks and remaining 6 feet away from anyone who is not in your immediate household. Marisa Cohen, Good Housekeeping, "Shelter in Place: What It Really Means and How It Actually Affects You," 8 Apr. 2020 Out of caution, the CDC and AVMA recommend that sick humans stay away from their animal companions. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "Your Pets Are Not Likely to Get or Transmit Coronavirus. Here's What the Experts Say," 7 Apr. 2020 Surgical ablation can help, but cauterizing healthy heart cells should be done with caution. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "MIT’s Koch Institute wins STAT Madness with technology to see tiny ovarian tumors," 6 Apr. 2020 Some experts have noted that favoring acetaminophen to treat COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution, isn’t a terrible idea. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus [Updated 4/5]," 5 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Decatur, Georgia — Attorneys for two white men accused of pursuing and killing a black man in Georgia said Thursday their clients have been vilified, and cautioned against a rush to judgment in a case that has drawn national attention. CBS News, "Men accused in Ahmaud Arbery shooting hire attorneys," 14 May 2020 Other legislative leaders have cautioned against such a move, however. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Legislature won't yet reconvene, as some lawmakers call for immediate end to stay-at-home order," 30 Apr. 2020 Health experts have cautioned, however, that reopening movie theaters and other businesses too quickly could result in a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections. James Hibberd,, "Texas to reopen movie theaters despite coronavirus fears," 27 Apr. 2020 Local and national public health experts caution against rushing to get back to the way things were. Charles Scudder, Dallas News, "Collin County plans return to work after different stay-at-home approach: ‘We’re cautiously optimistic’," 22 Apr. 2020 Experts have also cautioned that over-disclosing can be counterproductive, as patients fearful of public censure may choose to hide instead of seeking treatment. Max S. Kim, The New Yorker, "Seoul’s Radical Experiment in Digital Contact Tracing," 17 Apr. 2020 Thus, while much of the emerging research is promising, Bowdish cautions against using antibody testing to drive policy until researchers know the proportion of COVID-19 survivors who are producing neutralizing antibodies. Stacey Mckenna, Scientific American, "What Immunity to COVID-19 Really Means," 10 Apr. 2020 One site cautions against too much exposure to water, which is tough to do considering the current recommendation to undergo frequent hand washings. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Overwashed hands can reach into the pantry for some old-fashioned natural remedies: Valley Views," 6 Apr. 2020 But while this is certainly OK for short stretches, experts and educators caution against using television as a crutch. oregonlive, "How to keep kids active, occupied during coronavirus crisis," 21 Mar. 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

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 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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