Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



A man looking careworn as he waits to be interviewed for a job at the Lockheed Corporation in Los Angeles, California, USA, in April 1940. (From the collection of the US National Archives and Records Administration.)

From care (sorrow, worry) +‎ worn.



careworn (comparative more careworn, superlative most careworn)

  1. Worn down by cares: showing the signs of long-term stress, tired and haggard due to prolonged worry.
    The weeks of working hard to look after his sick family left him looking careworn.
    • 1843 December 19, Charles Dickens, “Stave Four. The Last of the Spirits.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, [], OCLC 55746801, page 139:
      At length the long-expected knock was heard. She hurried to the door, and met her husband; a man whose face was care-worn and depressed, though he was young. There was a remarkable expression in it now; a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed, and which he struggled to repress.
    • 1846–1847, attributed to James Malcolm Rymer and/or Thomas Peckett Prest, “The String of Pearls: A Romance”, in Edward Lloyd, editor, The People’s Periodical and Family Library, London: E. Lloyd, OCLC 830989500, chapter 14 (“Tobias’s Threat, and Its Consequences”); republished as Sweeney Todd: The String of Pearls: The Original Victorian Classic, Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2015, →ISBN, page 121:
      The effect upon his personal appearance of this wear and tear of his intellect was striking and manifest. The hue of youth and health entirely departed from his cheeks, and he looked so sad and careworn, that it was quite a terrible thing to look upon a young lad so, as it were, upon the threshold of existence, and in whom anxious thoughts were making such war upon the physical energies.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter I, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., 55 Fifth Avenue, [1933], OCLC 2666860, page 10:
      Thanks to that penny he had just spent so recklessly he would pass a happy hour, taken, for once, out of his anxious, despondent, miserable self. It irritated him shrewdly to know that these moments of respite from carking care would not be shared with his poor wife, with careworn, troubled Ellen.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 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.
    • 2017 June 26, Alexis Petridis, “Glastonbury 2017 Verdict: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Lorde, Stormzy and More”, in The Guardian[1], London, archived from the original on 12 November 2017:
      Played acoustically, glacially paced and sung in Kristofferson's parched, age-weathered voice, even his more lighthearted songs – Jesus Was a Capricorn, Best Of All Possible Worlds – were leant[sic, meaning lent] an eerie gravitas, while Me and Bobby McGee and Sunday Morning Coming Down sounded heartbreakingly careworn and poignant.