Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective cautious contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of cautious are chary, circumspect, and wary. While all these words 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

When is it sensible to use chary instead of cautious?

The synonyms chary and cautious are sometimes interchangeable, but chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely.

chary of signing papers without having read them first

When can circumspect be used instead of cautious?

While the synonyms circumspect and cautious are close in meaning, circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding.

circumspect in his business dealings

Where would wary be a reasonable alternative to cautious?

Although the words wary and cautious have much in common, wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it.

keeps a wary eye on the competition

Thesaurus Entries Near cautious

Cite this Entry

“Cautious.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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