careful


careful
careful 1 solicitous, anxious, worried, concerned (see under CARE n)
Analogous words: disquieted, perturbed, discomposed, disturbed, upset (see DISCOMPOSE): troubled, distressed (see TROUBLE vb): *watchful, vigilant, alert
2 Careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious, punctual are comparable in their basic sense of showing or revealing close attention to details or care in execution or performance.
Careful implies great concern for the persons or things in one's charge or for the way in which one's duties or tasks are performed. With regard to the former, the term implies solicitude or watchfulness
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a careful mother

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a careful nurse

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a careful spender of money

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and with regard to the latter, it usually implies painstaking efforts, thoroughness, cautiousness in avoiding errors, and a desire for perfection
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a careful piece of work

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a careful examination by the doctor

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a careful mapping out of the plan of battle

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All of the other words mean exceedingly careful, but they vary in their implications of the motives which inspire such carefulness and, to a less extent, in regard to the objects of attention.
Meticulous usually suggests timorousness lest one make the slightest error or fall short of a high standard; in addition, it implies extreme fussiness or fastidiousness in attention to details
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Mr. Prufrock . . . like most converts, meticulous over points of ritual— Day Lewis

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the meticulous care with which the operation in Sicily was planned has paid dividends. For our casualties . . . have been low— Roosevelt

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there were men who ploughed clumsily .. . leaving banks of land untouched . . . but Hendrik was not one of these, his work was meticulousCloete

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Scrupulous (see also UPRIGHT) implies the promptings of conscience, not only of one's moral conscience but of one's sense of what is right and wrong (as in fact, in logic, or in aesthetics); it therefore also implies strict or painstaking adherence to what one knows to be true, correct, or exact
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scrupulous fairness of statement

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scrupulous observation of details

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Bradley, like Aristotle, is distinguished by his scrupulous respect for words, that their meaning should be neither vague nor exaggerated— T. S. Eliot

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Punctilious, on the other hand, implies knowledge of the fine points (as of law, etiquette, ceremony, or morality) and usually connotes excessive or obvious attention to the details or minutiae of these
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I am sorry ... to see you so punctilious as to stand upon answers, and never to come near me till I have regularly left my name at your door— Gray

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the punctilious gods who judged them according to the principles laid down in some celestial Book of Etiquette— Krutch

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Punctual may occasionally come close to punctilious in its stress on attention to the fine points of a law or code, but in such use the term carries a much stronger implication than punctilious of emphasis on their observance and a weaker implication of concentration upon the minutiae
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we are not altogether so punctual as the French, in observing the laws of comedy— Dryden

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his punctual discharge of his duties— Froude

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More usually the term implies near perfection in one's adherence to appointed times for engagements or in following a schedule and then means punctiliously prompt
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I made Mr. Middleditch punctual before he died, though when he married me he was known far and wide as a man who could not be up to time— Mackenzie

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punctual, commonplace, keeping all .appointments, as I go my round— L. P. Smith)}

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Analogous words: *cautious, circumspect, wary: provident, fore-sighted, prudent (see under PRUDENCE): accurate, precise, nice, exact (see CORRECT): studied, *deliberate
Antonyms: careless
Contrasted words: heedless, thoughtless, inadvertent (see CARELESS): neglectful, *negligent, lax, slack, remiss

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Careful — Care ful (k[^a]r f[.u]l), a. [AS. cearful.] 1. Full of care; anxious; solicitous. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] Be careful [Rev. Ver. anxious ] for nothing. Phil. iv. 6. [1913 Webster] The careful plowman doubting stands. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • careful — [ker′fəl] adj. [ME & OE: see CARE & FUL] 1. acting or working in a thoughtful, painstaking way 2. cautious, wary, or guarded [a careful reply] 3. accurately or thoroughly done or made; painstaking [a careful analysis] 4 …   English World dictionary

  • Careful — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Careful» Sencillo de Paramore del álbum Brand New Eyes Género(s) Punk pop y Rock Alternativo Duración 3:51 …   Wikipedia Español

  • careful — I adjective accuratus, alert, attentive, attentus, cautious, circumspect, concerned, diligens, discreet, foresighted, guarded, heedful, judicious, meticulous, mindful, on one s guard, on the alert, overcautious, painstaking, precautious,… …   Law dictionary

  • careful — ► ADJECTIVE 1) taking care to avoid mishap or harm; cautious. 2) (careful with) prudent in the use of. 3) done with or showing thought and attention. DERIVATIVES carefully adverb carefulness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • careful — O.E. cearful mournful, sad, also full of care or woe; anxious; full of concern (for someone or something), thus applying attention, painstaking, circumspect; from CARE (Cf. care) (n.) + FUL (Cf. ful). Related: Carefully (O.E. carful lice) …   Etymology dictionary

  • careful — [adj] cautious; painstaking accurate, alert, apprehensive, assiduous, attentive, chary, choosy, circumspect, concerned, conscientious, conservative, cool, deliberate, discreet, exacting, fastidious, finicky, fussy, going to great lengths*,… …   New thesaurus

  • careful — care|ful [ kerfl ] adjective *** 1. ) if someone is careful, they think about what they are doing so that they do not do anything wrong or so that they avoid problems: Teachers have to be careful when criticizing pupils. Even the most careful… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • careful */*/*/ — UK [ˈkeə(r)f(ə)l] / US [ˈkerf(ə)l] adjective 1) if someone is careful, they think about what they are doing so that they do not do anything wrong or so that they avoid problems Teachers have to be careful when criticizing pupils. Even the most… …   English dictionary

  • careful — care|ful W2S1 [ˈkeəfəl US ˈker ] adj 1.) (be) careful! spoken used to tell someone to think about what they are doing so that something bad does not happen ▪ Be careful there s broken glass on the floor! 2.) trying very hard to avoid doing… …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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