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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 cautiously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From what I know of our young brother, I am satisfied he will proceed most cautiously.

  • cautiously they placed them in the baskets on their backs and then retraced their steps.

  • cautiously he drew back, still looking about for some means to cross the chasm.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • cautiously he approached one of the four doors which opened from the living room.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • We must break it to them cautiously, but they must be informed directly.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for cautiously


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 cautiously



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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