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

Peters, cautious and exacting, explained to me one of the main loopholes that property companies like Deutsche Wohnen have found in German rental regulations. Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New Yorker, "The Causes and Consequences of Berlin’s Rapid Gentrification," 12 July 2019 Individual investors are helping power this year’s rally in U.S. government debt, a sign many remain cautious even as stocks push to new highs. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "As Stocks Surge to Records, Nervous Investors Buy Bonds, Too," 8 July 2019 Since the Mueller report on Russian election interference was released in April, Pelosi has been cautious on impeachment, citing a lack of congressional support. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "'She Is Making a Mistake': Rep. Justin Amash Says Nancy Pelosi Should Move Forward on Impeachment," 7 July 2019 In a trench extraction, firefighters must be cautious not to cause a secondary collapse, an LAFD public information officer said. Jaclyn Cosgrove,, "Trench collapse kills worker in Encino," 3 July 2019 Given his injury history, some may be cautious to spend big on Pellegrini., "Luca Pellegrini: 5 Things to Know About Juventus' New Left-Back," 1 July 2019 The process of translating that potency into mainstream commercial success has been a slow and cautious one. Lawrence Specker |,, "Alabama rapper Chika announces Warner deal, new video," 1 July 2019 Despite the grandiosity of the Project Titan moniker, Apple has been operating along similar, cautious lines for years. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Apple’s Latest Acquisition Shows Self-Driving Cars Are in the Doldrums of Disappointment," 27 June 2019 Inspections take more time, and buyers are extra cautious. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "The November earthquake ‘put a shiver’ through the Anchorage housing market," 17 June 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

15 Jul 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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