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  1. ADJECTIVE usually verb-link ADJECTIVE, “ADJECTIVE to-infinitive”
    If you are careful, you give serious attention to what you are doing, in order to avoid harm, damage, or mistakes. If you are careful to do something, you make sure that you do it.
    Be very careful with this stuff, it can be dangerous if it isn’t handled properly.
    Careful on those stairs! + on
    We had to be very careful not to be seen.
    Pupils will need careful guidance on their choice of options.
    carefully ADVERB ADVERB with verb
    Have a nice time, dear, and drive carefully.
    He had chosen his words carefully in declaring that the murderers were madmen.
  2. ADJECTIVE usually ADJECTIVE noun
    Careful work, thought, or examination is thorough and shows a concern for details.
    He has decided to prosecute her after careful consideration of all the relevant facts.
    What we now know about the disease was learned by careful study of diseased organs.
    Synonyms: thorough, full, particular, accurate More Synonyms of careful
    carefully ADVERB ADVERB with verb
    a vast series of deliberate and carefully planned thefts.
    He explained very carefully what he was doing.
    If you tell someone to be careful about doing something, you think that what they intend to do is probably wrong, and that they should think seriously before they do it.
    I think you should be careful about talking of the rebels as heroes. + about/of
    It is important, I think, for everyone to be careful about claiming victory.
    carefully ADVERB ADVERB after verb
    He should think carefully about actions like this which play into the hands of his opponents.
    If you are careful with something such as money or resources, you use or spend only what is necessary.
    You will have to make a special effort to train your child to be careful with her pocket-money.
    It would force industries to be more careful with natural resources. [+ with]
    Synonyms: prudent, sparing, economical, canny More Synonyms of careful
  5. See you can’t be too careful
    More Synonyms of careful
    COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

in British English

  1. cautious in attitude or action; prudent
  2. painstaking in one’s work; thorough
    he wrote very careful script
  3. usually postpositive; folly by of, in, or about
    solicitous; protective
    careful of one’s reputation
  4. archaic
    full of care; anxious
  5. British
    mean or miserly
    Collins English Dictionary. Copyright HarperCollins Publishers
    Derived forms
    carefully ˈcarefully ADVERB
    carefulness ˈcarefulness NOUN
    Word Frequency
    in American English
  6. acting or working in a thoughtful, painstaking way
  7. cautious, wary, or guarded
    a careful reply
  8. accurately or thoroughly done or made; painstaking
    a careful analysis
  9. Archaic
    feeling or causing sorrow, worry, etc. anxious
    careful implies close attention to or great concern for whatever is one’s work or responsibility, and usually connotes thoroughness, a guarding against error or injury, etc. meticulous implies extreme, sometimes finicky, carefulness about details; , scrupulous implies a conscientious adherence to what is considered right, true, accurate, etc. circumspect implies a careful consideration of all circumstances to avoid error or unfavorable consequences; , cautious implies a careful guarding against possible dangers or risks, prudent implies the exercise of both caution and circumspection, suggesting careful management in economic and practical matters, discreet implies the exercise of discernment and judgment in the guidance of one’s speech and action and suggests careful restraint; wary implies a cautiousness that is prompted by suspicion
    OPPOSITES: careless, negligent, lax
    Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
    Derived forms
    carefully ˈ”carefully” ADVERB
    carefulness ˈ”carefulness” NOUN
    Word origin
    ME & OE: see care & -ful

in American English

  1. cautious in one’s actions
    Be careful when you cross the street
  2. taking pains in one’s work; exact; thorough
    a careful typist
  3. of things
    done or performed with accuracy or caution
    careful research
  4. usually fol. by of, about, or in
    solicitously mindful
    careful of the rights of others
    careful about one’s behavior
    careful in speech
  5. archaic
    a. troubled
    b. attended with anxiety
    Most material © 2005, 1997, 1991 by Penguin Random House LLC. Modified entries © 2019 by Penguin Random House LLC and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
    Derived forms
    carefully ADVERB
    carefulness NOUN
    Word origin
    bef. 1000; ME; OE carful, cearful. See care, -ful
    Examples of “careful” in a sentence
    These examples have been automatically selected and may contain sensitive content. Read more…
    If we are not careful we’ll make the game worse not better.
    The Sun 2017
    One warns: ‘They have to be a bit careful about how they handle these figures.
    The Sun 2022
    The doctors have got to be careful not to damage the eyesight.
    The Sun 2008
    The impact on employers needs careful examination.
    Times, Sunday Times 2008
    Then you can pick the best one and add the careful planning to make it work.
    The Sun 2013
    You also know who you can rely on and who will need careful handling.
    The Sun 2008
    Common sense tells you her claims need careful examination.
    The Sun 2012
    While some will regain their composure swiftly, certain individuals will require both patience and careful guidance.
    Times, Sunday Times 2009
    Softly, softly, catcher monkey
    COBUILD Collocations

careful consideration
careful deliberation
careful evaluation
careful examination
careful handling
careful listening
careful look
careful management
careful measurements
careful monitoring

British English: careful – ˈkɛəfʊl – adjective
If you are careful, you pay attention to what you are doing in order to avoid damage or mistakes.
Be very careful with this stuff: it can be dangerous.
American English: careful -ˈkɛərfəl
Arabic: مُحْتَرِس
Brazilian Portuguese: cuidadoso
Chinese: 小心的
Croatian: pažljiv
Czech: opatrný
Danish: forsigtig
Dutch: voorzichtig
European Spanish: cuidadoso
Finnish: varovainen
French: soigneux
German: vorsichtig
Greek: προσεκτικός
Italian: attento
Japanese: 注意深い
Korean: 조심스러운
Norwegian: forsiktig
Polish: ostrożny
European Portuguese: cuidadoso
Romanian: atent
Russian: осторожный
Latin American Spanish: cuidadoso
Swedish: försiktig
Thai: ระมัดระวัง
Turkish: dikkatli
Ukrainian: обережний
Vietnamese: cẩn thận

Browse alphabetically
carefree existence
carefree life
carefree lifestyle
careful aim
careful analysis
careful assessment

All ENGLISH words that begin with C
Related terms of
careful aim
careful look
careful watch
careful balance
careful driver

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Definition of careful from the Collins English Dictionary
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