cautious

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

Definition of cautious

: careful about avoiding danger or risk cautious investors cautious optimism

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The belief that drab and cautious clothes are the last thing anyone wants in dark times has worked to make London attractive on the world stage in the past. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Brexit Deadline Is Looming—Here’s How It Will Affect London Fashion Week," 14 Feb. 2019 This overly cautious behavior creates frequent problems for drivers in regular cars, in some cases causing accidents—even if the human driver is legally at fault. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 The Greek government is planning a cautious return to bond markets. Derek Gatopoulos, The Seattle Times, "Greece: strong interest in first bond sale since bailout end," 29 Jan. 2019 In amidst the largely cautious coverage is a truckload of confusion over the details. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Being a morning person might have some health advantages," 12 Nov. 2018 Some of them will presumably be cautious and employ safety measures, including keeping their AI off the internet. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 The prospect of rising borrowing costs may have made the public more cautious. The Economist, "The economy has slowed to a standstill, largely because of Brexit," 21 June 2018 Both state and local public health agencies have issued air quality advisories to stay inside until smoke clears, and have warned those who have health risks to be extra cautious. Steve Almasy And Amir Vera, CNN, "Colorado fire grows, sends thousands fleeing," 12 June 2018 This belief makes some drivers less cautious around the spandex set. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of cautious

1614, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cautious

see caution entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cautious

Statistics for cautious

Last Updated

25 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cautious

The first known use of cautious was in 1614

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cautious

cautious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of cautious

: careful about avoiding danger or risk

cautious

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!