[ kaw-shuhn ]
See synonyms for: cautioncautionedcautioning on

  1. alertness and prudence in a hazardous situation; care; wariness: Landslides ahead—proceed with caution.

  2. a warning against danger or evil; anything serving as a warning: By way of caution, he told me the difficulties I would face.

  1. Informal. a person or thing that astonishes or causes mild apprehension: She's a caution. The way he challenges your remarks is a caution.

verb (used with object)
  1. to give warning to; advise or urge to take heed.

verb (used without object)
  1. to warn or advise: The newspapers caution against overoptimism.

Origin of caution

1250–1300; Middle English caucion<Latin cautiōn- (stem of cautiō) a taking care, equivalent to caut(us), past participle of cavēre to guard against (cau- take care, guard + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn--ion

synonym study For caution

4. See warn.

Other words for caution

Opposites for caution

Other words from caution

  • cau·tion·er, noun
  • o·ver·cau·tion, noun, verb (used with object)
  • re·cau·tion, verb (used with object)
  • su·per·cau·tion, noun
  • un·cau·tioned, adjective
  • well-cautioned, adjective

Words Nearby caution Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use caution in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for caution


/ (ˈkɔːʃən) /

  1. care, forethought, or prudence, esp in the face of danger; wariness

  2. something intended or serving as a warning; admonition

  1. law, mainly British a formal warning given to a person suspected or accused of an offence that his words will be taken down and may be used in evidence

  2. a notice entered on the register of title to land that prevents a proprietor from disposing of his or her land without a notice to the person who entered the caution

  3. informal an amusing or surprising person or thing: she's a real caution

  1. (tr) to urge or warn (a person) to be careful

  2. (tr) law, mainly British to give a caution to (a person)

  1. (intr) to warn, urge, or advise: he cautioned against optimism

Origin of caution

C13: from Old French, from Latin cautiō, from cavēre to beware

Derived forms of caution

  • cautioner, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with caution


see throw caution to the winds.

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