Definition of careful adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkeəfl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkerfl//
    Describing work
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  1. 1  [not before noun] giving attention or thought to what you are doing so that you avoid hurting yourself, damaging something or doing something wrong Be careful! careful to do something He was careful to keep out of sight. careful not to do something Be careful not to wake the baby. careful when/what/how, etc. You must be careful when handling chemicals. Be careful what you say. careful of/about/with something Be careful of the traffic. Please be careful with my glasses (= Don't break them). I’m very careful about washing my hands before eating (= I make sure I do it). careful (that)… Be careful you don't bump your head. Express YourselfWarning people of dangerYou may need to tell someone that they are in danger or advise them not to do something dangerous: Look out! There's a car coming. Be careful. It can be quite dangerous on that path. Watch out. That's not a very safe place at night. Make sure you keep hold of your bag. I wouldn't do that if I were you. See related entries: Describing work
  2. 2  giving a lot of attention to details a careful piece of work a careful examination of the facts After careful consideration we have decided to offer you the job. opposite careless
  3. Word OriginOld English carful (see care, -ful).Word Familycare noun verbcareful adjective (careless)carefully adverb (carelessly)caring adjective (uncaring)Extra examples Be particularly careful when swimming in the lake. Bitter past experience had made her careful of what she confided to Nadia. He’s very careful of his reputation. She was quite careful about how she spoke to him. She’s extremely careful with money. A careful examination of the facts suggests a different conclusion. I’m very careful about washing my hands before eating. Please be careful with my glasses. This is a very careful piece of work.Idioms not spending money on unimportant things His mother had always been careful with money.
    you can’t be too careful
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    used to warn somebody that they should take care to avoid danger or problems Don't stay out in the sun for too long—you can't be too careful.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: careful