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[kaw-shuh s] /ˈkɔ ʃəs/
showing, using, or characterized by caution:
a cautious man; To be cautious is often to show wisdom.
Origin of cautious
First recorded in 1630-40; cauti(on) + -ous
Related forms
cautiously, adverb
cautiousness, noun
hypercautious, adjective
hypercautiously, adverb
hypercautiousness, noun
supercautious, adjective
ultracautious, adjective
ultracautiously, adverb
ultracautiousness, noun
uncautious, adjective
uncautiously, adverb
uncautiousness, noun
prudent, guarded, wary, chary, circumspect, watchful, vigilant.
Synonym Study
See careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cautious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My errors, however, have at least made me cautious and doubtful of my own conclusions.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • "Be cautious," said the calm voice which had before spoken to him.

    The Gorgon's Head Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The cautious reply is, "I don't know; are you inclined to give me an offer?"

  • Something else was there, which I did see; instantly my cautious advance was arrested.

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • But we should be cautious in passing our judgment, lest we also be judged.

British Dictionary definitions for cautious


showing or having caution; wary; prudent
Derived Forms
cautiously, adverb
cautiousness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for cautious

1640s, from caution + -ous. The Latin word for this was cautus "careful, heedful." Related: Cautiously; cautiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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