Definition of careful in English:



  • 1Making sure of avoiding potential danger, mishap, or harm; cautious.

    ‘I begged him to be more careful’
    ‘be careful not to lose her address’
    as exclamation ‘Careful! That stuff's worth a fortune!’
    • ‘He also struck me as a cautious and careful man and an impressive witness.’
    • ‘In taking forward his company, he must be careful to make sure that the business case works for each part separately.’
    • ‘As the election draws near I must be careful to avoid bias, such is the frightening influence of the diary.’
    • ‘It's win at all costs and he is going to have to be careful because he could lose a lot.’
    • ‘We should do everything we can as a government and as a people to be watchful and careful.’
    • ‘We have been careful and cautious: we don't have Scottish in our name for nothing.’
    • ‘Look guys I know we have to be a bit more alert, I know we have to be a bit more aware and careful.’
    • ‘The last stage had a lot of loose gravel on the surface so I made sure I was careful.’
    • ‘I'm not really careful and cautious, I tend to speak without thinking and jump in head first to a problem.’
    • ‘They were careful to make sure Robinson's helmet and feet did not contact the fragile ship.’
    • ‘An unadmitted lack of confidence makes him careful to avoid open conflict and he feels he must make the best of things as they are.’
    • ‘Ash paused, and recounted his dream to her in descriptive detail but was careful to avoid the part where she dies.’
    • ‘Mack and Phil followed him, careful to avoid anything which would betray their position.’
    • ‘I must be very careful not to lose my temper with Maureen from the flats management company tomorrow.’
    • ‘She would have to be more careful-he was aware of her and she was losing her energy quickly.’
    • ‘However be careful to avoid litigations, as they will be a barrier to your success.’
    • ‘Be careful and use caution and I trust you, yours too will be a positive experience.’
    • ‘Kwan says she must be careful and aware of her body to make sure she doesn't risk injury.’
    • ‘We were very concerned to ensure that any opening of the courts was careful and cautious.’
    • ‘He claims to be more careful and measured than he was in those days, but his example does not appear to have rubbed off on his players.’
    cautious, heedful, alert, aware, attentive, watchful, vigilant, wary, on guard, chary, circumspect, prudent, mindful, guarded
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    1. 1.1careful of/about Anxious to protect (something) from harm or loss; solicitous.
      ‘he was very careful of his reputation’
      • ‘Morrissey is very careful about his image and needs to keep an aura of mystery about him.’
      • ‘But you have got to be careful of other people's perception of you.’
      • ‘He also warned shoppers to be extra careful of their belongings when they are Christmas shopping in Naas.’
      • ‘Be careful of your heart and be extra specially careful with who you give it to, even if you only give it for a moment.’
      • ‘One is the force of entropy and decay, the other is the force careful of creativity and evolution.’
      • ‘I remember asking them to be careful of the jacket I was wearing, because it belonged to my sister.’
      • ‘So since it's sitting on your servers you want to be more careful of it.’
      • ‘He says that we too could undergo a similar fate if we are not more careful of the environment.’
      mindful, heedful, protective, watchful
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    2. 1.2 Prudent in the use of something, especially money.
      ‘he had always been careful with money’
      • ‘I learnt a valuable lesson which was to be a little more careful with my finances.’
      • ‘I like to treat myself now and again, but I am very careful in that I always put money aside for saving.’
      • ‘As Christmas approaches we would urge the public to be particularly careful with money.’
      • ‘The rivals not only have deeper pockets, they are less careful than the canny Tike on how they spend their cash.’
      • ‘By the way, I used to work for a chap who was tremendously careful with his money.’
      • ‘He has a reputation for being careful with money, but not with time and laughs.’
      • ‘Be careful with irony or sarcasm, especially if you are emailing someone abroad.’
      • ‘With many clubs becoming increasingly careful with the pennies, very few big money deals took place.’
      • ‘Perhaps a deficiency in this chemical marks a person as someone who needs to be careful with booze.’
      • ‘He was so nearly lost to addiction some years ago that he is now careful in the other extreme.’
      • ‘Be careful of alcohol and drugs especially if you tend to become angry or aggressive when drinking.’
      • ‘Apparently she was that she was a bit too careful with her money and died leaving millions of pounds.’
      • ‘Yes, these are tough times for everyone, but that is not why he was being so careful with his money.’
      • ‘With these he was careful and prudent, but never hesitated to recommend judicious outlay.’
      • ‘Hands up all those who think Yorkshire parliamentarians will be far more careful with the public purse?’
      • ‘Stuff like Lemsip is also banned and you have got to be careful with your caffeine dosages.’
      • ‘I also went to the gym and worked out and I made sure I was careful with what I ate.’
      • ‘Could it be that since quitting his job, he has to be more careful with his baht?’
      • ‘My dad was always very careful and he has advised me not to be too cautious and end up with money I don't know what to do with.’
      • ‘I never was in the habit of depriving myself but from now on I refuse to be careful with my money.’
      prudent, thrifty, economical, economic, economizing, sparing, frugal, scrimping, abstemious, canny, sensible, cautious
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  • 2Done with or showing thought and attention.

    ‘a careful consideration of the facts’
    • ‘I took careful, measured steps that didn't cause my pants to shift too much.’
    • ‘Anti-speed campaigners in Guiseley have been rewarding careful drivers with a smile.’
    • ‘These are not reasons for inaction but they counsel caution and careful planning.’
    • ‘Once this is complete, careful testing will help Dione to avoid costly mistakes.’
    • ‘But it has taken time and a lot of careful planning to avoid going into debt.’
    • ‘After much careful deliberation, I had finally managed to whittle my wishes down to just two.’
    • ‘Take careful measurements of doors and windows before buying to make sure they will fit in their new home.’
    • ‘In such circumstances careful financial planning for the future has to be done right from the start.’
    • ‘A defendant would have to use careful language to avoid imputing guilt by a statement of suspicion.’
    • ‘First, the entire science of astronomy had depended on careful measurement from the very beginning.’
    • ‘One of its main strengths is reckoned to be in the careful management of other peoples' money.’
    • ‘It is measured objectively by the care to be expected of an experienced, skilled and careful driver.’
    • ‘Using your home to provide you with extra money in your old age needs careful thinking and it shouldn't be done lightly.’
    • ‘To be frank, his bat was held too straight, his careful answers the product of wary years of dealing with the media.’
    • ‘This timely reminder of the dangers of diabetes should prompt a careful look at the wisdom of that strategy.’
    • ‘A lot of wastage can be avoided in toilets, baths and kitchens too with careful planning.’
    • ‘Just a careful check every now and again to make sure it doesn't grow.’
    • ‘Considering I was the world's most careful driver, I felt some tension creep into my body.’
    • ‘Such heady days may yet return to Carrow Road, but will only do so with sensible and careful planning.’
    • ‘You can often avoid CGT with careful planning and canny use of your annual allowance.’
    attentive, conscientious, painstaking, meticulous, diligent, assiduous, sedulous, scrupulous, punctilious, fastidious, methodical, orderly, deliberate, judicious, perfectionist
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Old English carful (see care, -ful).