cau·​tious | \ˈkȯ-shəs \

Definition of cautious 

: careful about avoiding danger or risk cautious investors cautious optimism

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Other Words from cautious

cautiously adverb
cautiousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cautious

cautious, circumspect, wary, chary mean prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk. cautious implies the exercise of forethought usually prompted by fear of danger. a cautious driver circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding. circumspect in his business dealings wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it. keeps a wary eye on the competition chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely. chary of signing papers without having read them first

Examples of cautious in a Sentence

Any cautious tourist will guard her passport. You cannot be overly cautious when you're driving in snow. He answered the question with a cautious reply.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Data Care Act received some cautious approval from privacy activists. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Democratic senators have introduced a big new data privacy plan," 12 Dec. 2018 After that, though, several other psychologists responded that there wasn’t anything actually wrong with it and that Reznick was being overly cautious. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "David Beckham Kissed His Kid on the Mouth and For Some Reason That's a Big Deal," 29 Nov. 2018 Always be cautious of anything that seems too good to be true. SELF, "Why You Should Let Go of the 'All-or-Nothing' Mindset—and How to Do It," 29 Nov. 2018 Mortgage lenders have been historically cautious since the financial crisis. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Why shrinking U.S. homes may be a boost to homebuyers," 29 Nov. 2018 The Good Housekeeping Institute recommends taking the following precautions when shopping online: Be cautious of links sent from an unknown number. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Host Savannah Guthrie Warns Fans of Popular Scam Using Her Name," 11 Sep. 2018 The car will handle and brake much differently, too, so be cautious and feel out the new driving dynamics of the tiny tire. Zachary Palmer, Popular Mechanics, "How To Change a Flat Tire: A Step-By-Step Guide," 16 Aug. 2018 Builders are taking a cautious stance given the Federal Reserve’s plan to continue gradually raising interest rates, the National Association of Home Builders said Monday. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "Existing-Home Sales Suffer Largest Annual Drop in Four Years," 21 Nov. 2018 Investigators have yet to pinpoint the source—or even a common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand—hence the abundantly cautious blanket warning. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Here Are the E. Coli Symptoms to Watch Out For, Just in Case You Ate Contaminated Romaine Lettuce Recently," 20 Nov. 2018

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

1614, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cautious

see caution entry 1

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Statistics for cautious

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cautious

The first known use of cautious was in 1614

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More Definitions for cautious



English Language Learners Definition of cautious

: careful about avoiding danger or risk


cau·​tious | \ˈkȯ-shəs \

Kids Definition of cautious

: showing or using care to avoid trouble or danger

Other Words from cautious

cautiously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on cautious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cautious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cautious

Spanish Central: Translation of cautious

Nglish: Translation of cautious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cautious for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cautious

What made you want to look up cautious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

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