Definition of careful in US 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!’
    • ‘I must be very careful not to lose my temper with Maureen from the flats management company tomorrow.’
    • ‘He also struck me as a cautious and careful man and an impressive witness.’
    • ‘The last stage had a lot of loose gravel on the surface so I made sure I was careful.’
    • ‘Be careful and use caution and I trust you, yours too will be a positive experience.’
    • ‘They were careful to make sure Robinson's helmet and feet did not contact the fragile ship.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Look guys I know we have to be a bit more alert, I know we have to be a bit more aware and careful.’
    • ‘I'm not really careful and cautious, I tend to speak without thinking and jump in head first to a problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the election draws near I must be careful to avoid bias, such is the frightening influence of the diary.’
    • ‘In taking forward his company, he must be careful to make sure that the business case works for each part separately.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We were very concerned to ensure that any opening of the courts was careful and cautious.’
    • ‘However be careful to avoid litigations, as they will be a barrier to your success.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kwan says she must be careful and aware of her body to make sure she doesn't risk injury.’
    • ‘She would have to be more careful-he was aware of her and she was losing her energy quickly.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Morrissey is very careful about his image and needs to keep an aura of mystery about him.’
      • ‘He also warned shoppers to be extra careful of their belongings when they are Christmas shopping in Naas.’
      • ‘One is the force of entropy and decay, the other is the force careful of creativity and evolution.’
      • ‘He says that we too could undergo a similar fate if we are not more careful of the environment.’
      • ‘So since it's sitting on your servers you want to be more careful of it.’
      • ‘I remember asking them to be careful of the jacket I was wearing, because it belonged to my sister.’
      • ‘But you have got to be careful of other people's perception of you.’
      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’
      • ‘Be careful of alcohol and drugs especially if you tend to become angry or aggressive when drinking.’
      • ‘He has a reputation for being careful with money, but not with time and laughs.’
      • ‘The rivals not only have deeper pockets, they are less careful than the canny Tike on how they spend their cash.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As Christmas approaches we would urge the public to be particularly careful with money.’
      • ‘I never was in the habit of depriving myself but from now on I refuse to be careful with my money.’
      • ‘Be careful with irony or sarcasm, especially if you are emailing someone abroad.’
      • ‘I like to treat myself now and again, but I am very careful in that I always put money aside for saving.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Stuff like Lemsip is also banned and you have got to be careful with your caffeine dosages.’
      • ‘Yes, these are tough times for everyone, but that is not why he was being so careful with his money.’
      • ‘Apparently she was that she was a bit too careful with her money and died leaving millions of pounds.’
      • ‘He was so nearly lost to addiction some years ago that he is now careful in the other extreme.’
      • ‘I also went to the gym and worked out and I made sure I was careful with what I ate.’
      • ‘By the way, I used to work for a chap who was tremendously 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?’
      • ‘I learnt a valuable lesson which was to be a little more careful with my finances.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Using your home to provide you with extra money in your old age needs careful thinking and it shouldn't be done lightly.’
    • ‘It is measured objectively by the care to be expected of an experienced, skilled and careful driver.’
    • ‘First, the entire science of astronomy had depended on careful measurement from the very beginning.’
    • ‘But it has taken time and a lot of careful planning to avoid going into debt.’
    • ‘Considering I was the world's most careful driver, I felt some tension creep into my body.’
    • ‘You can often avoid CGT with careful planning and canny use of your annual allowance.’
    • ‘After much careful deliberation, I had finally managed to whittle my wishes down to just two.’
    • ‘A defendant would have to use careful language to avoid imputing guilt by a statement of suspicion.’
    • ‘Such heady days may yet return to Carrow Road, but will only do so with sensible and careful planning.’
    • ‘One of its main strengths is reckoned to be in the careful management of other peoples' money.’
    • ‘To be frank, his bat was held too straight, his careful answers the product of wary years of dealing with the media.’
    • ‘Once this is complete, careful testing will help Dione to avoid costly mistakes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A lot of wastage can be avoided in toilets, baths and kitchens too with careful planning.’
    • ‘This timely reminder of the dangers of diabetes should prompt a careful look at the wisdom of that strategy.’
    • ‘I took careful, measured steps that didn't cause my pants to shift too much.’
    • ‘Just a careful check every now and again to make sure it doesn't grow.’
    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).