a state of mind in which one is troubled; worry, anxiety, or concern:
He was never free from care.
a cause or object of worry, anxiety, concern, etc.:
Their son has always been a great care to them.
serious attention; solicitude; heed; caution:
She devotes great care to her work.
protection; charge:
He is under the care of a doctor.
temporary keeping, as for the benefit of or until claimed by the owner:
He left his valuables in the care of friends. Address my mail in care of the American Embassy.
grief; suffering; sorrow.
to be concerned or solicitous; have thought or regard.
to be concerned or have a special preference (usually used in negative constructions):
I don’t care if I do.
to make provision or look out (usually followed by for):
Will you care for the children while I am away?
to have an inclination, liking, fondness, or affection (usually followed by for):
Would you care for dessert? I don’t care for him very much.
to feel concern about:
He doesn’t care what others say.
to wish; desire; like:
Would you care to dance?
couldn’t care less, could not care less; be completely unconcerned:
I couldn’t care less whether she goes to the party or not.
Also, could care less.
take care,

be alert; be careful:
Take care that you don’t fall on the ice!
take care of yourself; goodbye: used as an expression of parting.

take care of,

to watch over; be responsible for:
to take care of an invalid.
to act on; deal with; attend to:
to take care of paying a bill.

Contemporary Examples

“The incident does not reflect the values of this caring and compassionate community,” Brewer said.
A Murder in Wichita Joe Stumpe May 31, 2009

There seems to be a proactive disregard for knowing or caring about their lives and plight.
Ferguson, Immigration, and ‘Us Vs. Them’ Gene Robinson November 26, 2014

We move pretty quickly on movies, too, and sometimes people can interpret that as not caring enough.
The Director Isn’t Done Yet: An Interview With Steven Soderbergh Andrew Romano July 31, 2014

Suppose, in the course of caring for you, your doctor makes a mistake.
Parents Sue for ‘Wrongful Birth’ Elizabeth Picciuto August 16, 2014

Just hands down the most thoughtful, caring, wonderful woman on the planet.
“The Gift of Cancer” Mark McKinnon February 21, 2010

Historical Examples

I did get to caring too much for dancing and society, and went out too much without Robert.
Drusilla with a Million Elizabeth Cooper

Mention the precautions that should be observed in caring for milk.
Woman’s Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2 Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

One of the first considerations in caring for an invalid is the ventilation of the sick room.
Public School Domestic Science Mrs. J. Hoodless

The men, without looking or caring, went on locking the gate.
Tales And Novels, Volume 9 (of 10) Maria Edgeworth

He had gone too far in life to be capable of believing in, or of caring for, such things.
Can You Forgive Her? Anthony Trollope

feeling or showing care and compassion: a caring attitude
of or relating to professional social or medical care: nursing is a caring job
the practice or profession of providing social or medical care
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to be troubled or concerned; be affected emotionally: he is dying, and she doesn’t care
(intransitive; foll by for or about) to have regard, affection, or consideration (for): he cares more for his hobby than his job
(intransitive) foll by for. to have a desire or taste (for): would you care for some tea?
(intransitive) foll by for. to provide physical needs, help, or comfort (for): the nurse cared for her patients
(transitive) to agree or like (to do something): would you care to sit down, please?
for all I care, I couldn’t care less, I am completely indifferent
careful or serious attention: under her care the plant flourished, he does his work with care
protective or supervisory control: in the care of a doctor
(often pl) trouble; anxiety; worry
an object of or cause for concern: the baby’s illness was her only care
caution: handle with care
care of, at the address of: written on envelopes Usual abbreviation c/o
(social welfare) in care, into care, made the legal responsibility of a local authority by order of a court
noun acronym
Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere, Inc.; a federation of US charities, giving financial and technical assistance to many regions of the world
communicated authenticity, regard, empathy: the three qualities believed to be essential in the therapist practising client-centred therapy

1550s, verbal noun from care (v.).

“compassionate,” 1966, present participle adjective from care (v.). Related: Caringly; caringness.

Old English caru, cearu “sorrow, anxiety, grief,” also “burdens of mind; serious mental attention,” from Proto-Germanic *karo (cf. Old Saxon kara “sorrow;” Old High German chara “wail, lament;” Gothic kara “sorrow, trouble, care;” German Karfreitag “Good Friday”), from PIE root *gar- “cry out, call, scream” (cf. Irish gairm “shout, cry, call;” see garrulous).

Different sense evolution in related Dutch karig “scanty, frugal,” German karg “stingy, scanty.” The sense development in English is from “cry” to “lamentation” to “grief.” Meaning “charge, oversight, protection” is attested c.1400, the sense in care of in addressing. To take care of “take in hand, do” is from 1580s.

Old English carian, cearian “be anxious, grieve; to feel concern or interest,” from Proto-Germanic *karojanan (cf. Old High German charon “to lament,” Old Saxon karon “to care, to sorrow”), from the same source as care (n.). OED emphasizes that it is in “no way related to L. cura.” Related: Cared; caring.

To not care as a negative dismissal is attested from mid-13c. Phrase couldn’t care less is from 1946; could care less in the same sense (with an understood negative) is from 1966. Care also figures in many “similies of indifference” in the form don’t care a _____, with the blank filled by fig, pin, button, cent, straw, rush, point, farthing, snap, etc., etc.

Positive senses, e.g. “have an inclination” (1550s); “have fondness for” (1520s) seem to have developed later as mirrors to the earlier negative ones.
Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere
Cooperative for American Relief to Europe
Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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