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not paying enough attention to what one does:
a careless typist.
not exact, accurate, or thorough:
careless work.
done or said heedlessly or negligently; unconsidered:
a careless remark.
not caring or troubling; having no care or concern; unconcerned (usually followed by of, about, or in):
careless of the rights of others; careless about one’s behavior; careless in speech.
possessed or caused without effort or art; unstudied:
careless beauty.
Archaic. free from anxiety.
Contemporary Examples

On the one hand, he was furious at the carelessness of it all; on the other, he felt sorry for the man.
The Billionaire and the Fugitive Meir Doron, Joseph Gelman July 22, 2011

“I remember there was this atmosphere of carelessness,” she says.
The Katrina Divorces Nicole LaPorte August 21, 2010

Climate scientists have had to admit data failures, carelessness with evidence, and coverups.
The Best of Brit Lit Peter Stothard February 10, 2010

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
My Other Mom and Pop Christopher Buckley April 25, 2009

Her jauntiness and carefree attitude appeals to him; the negative side is her carelessness.
The Forgotten Genius of Ring Lardner Allen Barra August 31, 2013

Historical Examples

But Leslie stopped at once and apologized, in his polite little way, for his carelessness.
The Night Before Christmas and Other Popular Stories For Children Various

It is all our ignorance and carelessness; all the result of broken law.
Hetty’s Strange History Anonymous

When the gods restored Pelops to life, Ceres was very sorry for her carelessness and gave him a shoulder of ivory.
Stories of Old Greece and Rome Emilie Kip Baker

He is incapable of envy or avarice, whether from virtue or from carelessness.
Reflections Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

carelessness is a confession of a weak will that cannot keep things under control.
Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde

done with or acting with insufficient attention; negligent
often foll by in, of, or about. unconcerned in attitude or action; heedless; indifferent (to): she’s very careless about her clothes
(usually prenominal) carefree
(usually prenominal) unstudied; artless: an impression of careless elegance

Old English carleasnes; see careless + -ness.

Old English carleas “free from anxiety; unconcerned,” from care (n.) + -less; a compound probably from Proto-Germanic. Original senses extinct by mid-17c.; main modern meaning “not paying attention, inattentive, not taking due care” is first recorded 1560s (in carelessly).


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