- 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.
- full of anxiety or care; troubled.
- causing or attended with anxiety: a careful day.
Origin of careful
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. watchful, guarded, chary, circumspect. 2. meticulous, discerning. 3. conscientious. 4. thoughtful, concerned, solicitous, attentive, heedful, regardful.
1. Careful, cautious, discreet, wary imply a watchful guarding against something. Careful implies guarding against mistakes, by paying strict and close attention to details, and, often, trying to use good judgment: He was careful to distinguish between them. Cautious implies a fear of some unfavorable situation and investigation before coming to conclusions: cautious about investments. Discreet implies being prudent in speech and action and being trustworthy as a confidant: discreet in manner, in keeping secrets. Wary implies a vigilant lookout for a danger suspected or feared: wary of polite strangers. 2, 3. See painstaking.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for careful
“Cultures” Versus “White Girls” As you can probably sense from my scare quotes, you can never be too careful these days.Solange Smacks Jay Z, Legolas Slaps Bieber, and the Biggest Celebrity Feuds of the Year
December 24, 2014
He had talked to her earlier in the day, him saying, “Baby, be careful.”'Please Don't Die!': The Frantic Battle to Save Murdered Cops
December 22, 2014
Would he have been careful enough to destroy the odd pieces of jute you've left so messily about?Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days
December 13, 2014
So what I always tell the kids is to be careful about signing to a label and always protect your copyright.Wyclef Jean Talks Lauryn Hill, the Yele Haiti Controversy, and Chris Christie
November 20, 2014
The papers suggest that Hayden was careful not to leave any DNA-laden material.Rape, Lies & Videotape in Ferguson
November 18, 2014
This is a record and result that no careful student of our history will, I take it, deny.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
Andy chose the careful insult which he would throw in Buck's face.Way of the Lawless
I think we should be careful of our judgment as to when that state has been reached.
But he saw Hester look anxious; and that was enough to put him on his careful honour.
They were so careful that for many days they continued undiscovered.
- cautious in attitude or action; prudent
- painstaking in one's work; thoroughhe wrote very careful script
- (usually postpositive; foll by of, in, or about) solicitous; protectivecareful of one's reputation
- archaic full of care; anxious
- British mean or miserly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for careful
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper