cau·​tious | \ ˈkȯ-shəs How to pronounce cautious (audio) \

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

Thompson, Curry, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins have all praised the Warriors’ training staff publicly for their cautious approach with their respective injuries, while seeking their input. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Steve Kerr on playing Kevin Durant in Game 5: ‘Would we go back and do it over again? Damn right’," 12 June 2019 Businesses have become more cautious in the face of slowing global growth and widening trade conflicts. David Lazarus,, "California Inc.: An alleged solar scam involving 'nearly no legitimate business'," 10 June 2019 Tokyo gave a very cautious response to Friday’s deal. NBC News, "Kim Jong Un offers denuclearization deal, but what's the catch?," 27 Apr. 2018 Trading volumes have fallen as major indexes climb toward all-time highs, the latest sign that investors remain cautious despite 2019’s powerful stock rebound. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Trading Activity Stalls as Stocks Approach Records," 14 Apr. 2019 Be cautious around water Many camps have pools or lakes and offer kids the opportunity to swim and participate in water activities, like boating or kayaking. Evan Weiner Md,, "Keeping kids safe at summer camp," 4 June 2018 That experience caused me to be less trusting of men in general and more cautious around kinky men especially. Jessica Wakeman, Glamour, "Don't Use My Kink as a Cover for Your Abuse," 9 May 2018 The dollar rose Tuesday, buoyed by gains against the Australian dollar after the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged but expressed a cautious outlook on the Australian economy. Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, "Pound Strengthens on Australia Warning," 2 Apr. 2019 The march was completed in 29 hours and four minutes at an average speed of two miles an hour--about the speed of a cautious foot patrol. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Grizzly Is a Rugged Tank Robot That Could Carry a Soldier’s Stuff," 29 Mar. 2019

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

17 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce cautious (audio) \

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).


showing courage and determination

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