verb (used without object), cared, car·ing.
verb (used with object), cared, car·ing.
- 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.
- to watch over; be responsible for: to take care of an invalid.
- to act on; deal with; attend to: to take care of paying a bill.
Origin of care
Related Words for couldn't care lessdisinterested, abstract, unbiased, candid, sober, detached, unemotional, uninterested, callous, passive, stoic, laid-back, indifferent, apathetic, neutral, unconcerned, blah, cold, cool
Word Origin for care
n acronym for
Old English carian, cearian "be anxious, grieve; to feel concern or interest," from Proto-Germanic *karojanan (cf. Old High German charon "to lament," Old Saxon karon "to care, to sorrow"), from the same source as care (n.). OED emphasizes that it is in "no way related to L. cura." Related: Cared; caring.
To not care as a negative dismissal is attested from mid-13c. Phrase couldn't care less is from 1946; could care less in the same sense (with an understood negative) is from 1966. Care also figures in many "similies of indifference" in the form don't care a _____, with the blank filled by fig, pin, button, cent, straw, rush, point, farthing, snap, etc., etc.
Positive senses, e.g. "have an inclination" (1550s); "have fondness for" (1520s) seem to have developed later as mirrors to the earlier negative ones.
Old English caru, cearu "sorrow, anxiety, grief," also "burdens of mind; serious mental attention," from Proto-Germanic *karo (cf. Old Saxon kara "sorrow;" Old High German chara "wail, lament;" Gothic kara "sorrow, trouble, care;" German Karfreitag "Good Friday"), from PIE root *gar- "cry out, call, scream" (cf. Irish gairm "shout, cry, call;" see garrulous).
Different sense evolution in related Dutch karig "scanty, frugal," German karg "stingy, scanty." The sense development in English is from "cry" to "lamentation" to "grief." Meaning "charge, oversight, protection" is attested c.1400, the sense in care of in addressing. To take care of "take in hand, do" is from 1580s.
couldn't care less
Also, could care less. Be completely indifferent. For example, Pick whatever dessert you want; I couldn't care less, or I could care less about the editor's opinion. This expression originated about 1940 in Britain and for a time invariably used couldn't. About 1960 could was occasionally substituted, and today both versions are used with approximately equal frequency, despite their being antonyms.
In addition to the idiom beginning with care
- care package
- 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