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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English careful, from Old English carful, ċearful (careful, anxious, curious, troubled), equivalent to care +‎ -ful.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɛːfəl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkɛ(ə)ɹfəl/
  • (file)
  • (file)


careful (comparative more careful, superlative most careful)

  1. Taking care; attentive to potential danger, error or harm; cautious.
    He was a slow and careful driver.
  2. Conscientious and painstaking; meticulous.
    They made a careful search of the crime scene.
  3. (obsolete) Full of care or grief; sorrowful, sad.
    • 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], (please specify the book number), [London]: [] [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: Published by David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034:
      , Bk.V:
      ‘Alas,’ sayde Sir Cadore, ‘now carefull is myne herte that now lyeth dede my cosyn that I beste loved.’
  4. (obsolete) Full of cares or anxiety; worried, troubled.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.1:
      Where through long watch, and late daies weary toile, / She soundly slept, and carefull thoughts did quite assoile.



Derived terms[edit]


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