[ kair ]
See synonyms for care on
  1. a state of mind in which one is troubled; worry, anxiety, or concern: He was never free from care.

  2. a cause or object of worry, anxiety, concern, etc.: A massage is an excellent way to forget your cares for a little while.Their son has always been a heavy care to them.

  1. serious attention; solicitude; heed; caution: She devotes great care to her work.

  2. the provision of what is needed for the well-being or protection of a person or thing: He is under the care of a doctor.With proper care, the watch will last a lifetime.

  3. temporary keeping, as for the benefit of or until claimed by the owner: He left his valuables in the care of friends.Address my mail in care of the American Embassy.

  4. grief; suffering; sorrow.

verb (used without object),cared, car·ing.
  1. to be concerned or solicitous; have thought or regard: You can just tell she cares for people's feelings by the way she talks to them.

  2. to be concerned or have a special preference (usually used in negative constructions): I don't care where we go, I just want to get out of town for a bit.

  1. to make provision or look out (usually followed by for): Will you care for the children while I am away?

  2. to have an inclination, liking, fondness, or affection (usually followed by for): Would you care for dessert?I don't care for him very much.

verb (used with object),cared, car·ing.
  1. to feel concern about: He doesn't care what others say.

  2. to wish; desire; like: Would you care to dance?

Verb Phrases
  1. care about,

    • to have concern for or interest in: It's a privilege to stand in the presence of so many people who care about building a better Canada.They don't care about the privacy of the people who use their services.

    • to have affection for; love: One of my greatest joys in life is cooking for those I care about.

Idioms about care

  1. couldn't care less, could not care less; be completely unconcerned: I couldn't care less whether she goes to the party or not.: Also could care less.

  2. take care,

    • be alert; be careful: Take care that you don't fall on the ice!

    • take care of yourself; goodbye: used as an expression of parting.

  1. take care of,

    • to watch over; be responsible for: to take care of an invalid.

    • to deal with; attend to: I'll take care of the bill, and you can go out and get the car started.

Origin of care

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun care “sadness, sorrow, grief,” Old English caru, cearu, cognate with Gothic kara, Old High German chara “lament”

synonym study For care

3. To take care, pains, trouble (to do something) implies watchful, conscientious effort to do something exactly right. To take care implies the performance of one particular detail: She took care to close the cover before striking the match. To take pains suggests a sustained carefulness, an effort to see that nothing is overlooked but that every small detail receives attention: to take pains with fine embroidery. To take trouble implies an effort that requires a considerable amount of activity and exertion: to take the trouble to make suitable arrangements.

usage note For care

14. Couldn't care less, a phrase used to express indifference, is sometimes heard as could care less, which ought to mean the opposite but is intended to be synonymous with the former phrase. Both versions are common mainly in informal speech.

Other words from care

  • car·er, noun
  • non·car·ing, adjective
  • o·ver·care, noun
  • un·car·ing, adjective

Other definitions for CARE (2 of 2)


or Care

[ kair ]

  1. a private organization for the collection of funds, goods, etc., for distribution to people in foreign countries who need aid.

Origin of CARE

First recorded in 1945–50; shortening of C(ooperative for) A(merican) R(elief) E(verywhere) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use care in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for care (1 of 2)


/ (kɛə) /

  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to be troubled or concerned; be affected emotionally: he is dying, and she doesn't care

  2. (intr; foll by for or about) to have regard, affection, or consideration (for): he cares more for his hobby than his job

  1. (intr foll by for) to have a desire or taste (for): would you care for some tea?

  2. (intr foll by for) to provide physical needs, help, or comfort (for): the nurse cared for her patients

  3. (tr) to agree or like (to do something): would you care to sit down, please?

  4. for all I care or I couldn't care less I am completely indifferent

  1. careful or serious attention: under her care the plant flourished; he does his work with care

  2. protective or supervisory control: in the care of a doctor

  1. (often plural) trouble; anxiety; worry

  2. an object of or cause for concern: the baby's illness was her only care

  3. caution: handle with care

  4. care of at the address of: written on envelopes: Usual abbreviation: c/o

  5. in care or into care social welfare made the legal responsibility of a local authority by order of a court

Origin of care

Old English cearu (n), cearian (vb), of Germanic origin; compare Old High German chara lament, Latin garrīre to gossip

British Dictionary definitions for CARE (2 of 2)


/ (kɛə) /

n acronym for
  1. Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere, Inc.; a federation of US charities, giving financial and technical assistance to many regions of the world

  2. communicated authenticity, regard, empathy: the three qualities believed to be essential in the therapist practising client-centred therapy

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with care


In addition to the idiom beginning with care

  • care package

also see:

  • couldn't care less
  • for all (I care)
  • in care of
  • in charge (the care of)
  • take care
  • take care of
  • tender loving care
  • that's (takes care of) that

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.