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From Middle English careles, from Old English carlēas (careless, reckless, void of care, free from care, free), equivalent to care +‎ -less. Cognate with Icelandic kærulaus (careless, negligent).



careless (comparative more careless, superlative most careless)

  1. Not concerned or worried (about). [from 11thc.]
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter IV, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      "He was here," observed Drina composedly, "and father was angry with him."
      "What?" exclaimed Eileen. "When?"
      "This morning, before father went downtown."
      Both Selwyn and Lansing cut in coolly, dismissing the matter with a careless word or two; and coffee was served—cambric tea in Drina's case.
  2. Not giving sufficient attention or thought, especially concerning the avoidance of harm or mistakes. [from 16thc.]
    Jessica was so careless that she put her shorts on backwards.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, London: Heinemann, →OCLC, page 49:
      I don't find the pose of careless youth charming and engaging any more than you find the pose of careworn age fascinating and eccentric, I should imagine.
  3. (archaic) Free from care; unworried, without anxiety. [from 11thc.]


Derived terms[edit]


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