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

Which is why teams are being ever more cautious with their players in the preseason. Ben Volin,, "Patriots get banged up, but why were they playing in a meaningless preseason game?," 22 Aug. 2019 And Lyngen is right—the services sector comprises 70% of the U.S. economy, and slowed growth signals corporations are concerned about trade and could continue being cautious in the face of China uncertainty. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "Why Business Confidence is Plummeting: the ‘Chaotic’ Environment Makes Planning Problematic," 9 Aug. 2019 Bill Blomquist, a political science professor at Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis, is more cautious in his assessment. Peter Krouse,, "Indianapolis surged under “Unigov,” while Cleveland just clunked along: Cleveland 2030, A Way Forward," 8 July 2019 Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix In her discussion with Winfrey, DuVernay urged the audience to be cautious in thinking justice had been done. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "A changing America finally demands that the Central Park Five prosecutors face consequences," 8 July 2019 My sense is that, over the years, the Justice Department has been appropriately cautious in invoking the doctrine. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Supreme Court Was Right to Uphold the Dual-Sovereignty Doctrine," 19 June 2019 Garcia also urged hikers and campers to be extra cautious and not start new fires in a forest still with plenty of dry brush. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "Mountain Fire in Tonto National Forest now 50% contained overnight," 9 June 2019 Never mind that Trump's tweet was hedged with cautious wording. Oren Liebermann, CNN, "Trump may no longer be the gift that keeps on giving for Netanyahu," 16 Sep. 2019 There are members of the community who have celebrated the revival of the youth program, while others are taking a more cautious wait-and-see approach. Emmett Hall,, "Deerfield Packer Rattlers youth football organization’s new leadership looks to right the ship," 12 Sep. 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

7 Oct 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).


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