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cautious in one’s actions:
Be careful when you cross the street.
taking pains in one’s work; exact; thorough:
a careful typist.
(of things) done or performed with accuracy or caution:
careful research.
solicitously mindful (usually followed by of, about, or in):
careful of the rights of others; careful about one’s behavior; careful in speech.

attended with anxiety.

Contemporary Examples

He is a retired Air Force major and sounded like one, careful and precise in his language.
The Last Columbine Mystery Dave Cullen February 23, 2010

Rowling is careful, explicit even, to note that this woman was not “the real Dolores Umbridge.”
J.K. Rowling Pens the Greatest Horror Story Ever: Dolores Umbridge Was Real Kevin Fallon October 30, 2014

At times like these you must be careful not to brim over with elation-into-crashing-despair.
What the Stars Predict for Your Week Starsky + Cox August 19, 2011

Real-world profilers have to be careful, and are, not to indulge in facile ethnic, racial or religious “profiling.”
Inside the Mind of an ISIS Jihadi Jamie Dettmer September 20, 2014

We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them.
What Pope Francis Can Teach the GOP Sally Kohn January 5, 2014

Historical Examples

He can not be too careful of what he says, and how he says it.
The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani

The child is safe—while your Majesty is careful to fulfil our pleasure.
The Royal Pawn of Venice Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull

Why master was so careful of her, may be safely left to conjecture.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass

Be careful not to overcook it, and it will not be pasty, but firm and tender.
The Italian Cook Book Maria Gentile

I’d be kind of careful about any man that was knocking his boss—wouldn’t you, Curly?
The Man Next Door Emerson Hough

cautious in attitude or action; prudent
painstaking in one’s work; thorough: he wrote very careful script
(usually postpositive; foll by of, in, or about) solicitous; protective: careful of one’s reputation
(archaic) full of care; anxious
(Brit) mean or miserly

Old English cearful “mournful, sad,” also “full of care or woe; anxious; full of concern” (for someone or something), thus “applying attention, painstaking, circumspect;” from care (n.) + -ful.


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Disclaimer: Careful definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.