Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective British English pronunciation: careful /ˈkeə(r)f(ə)l/
  1. 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 proofreader will miss the occasional error.

    careful about:

    People should be more careful about the things they say.

    careful who/what/how:

    You must be careful who you accept a lift from.

    careful (that):

    Be careful that the medicine is kept away from children.

    be careful to do something:

    She was careful to keep her records up to date.

    1. a.
      trying hard not to cause harm or damage

      Brighton welcomes careful drivers.

      careful with:

      Please be very careful with those plates!

    2. b.
      used about someone's actions

      The project needs careful planning.

      After careful consideration, we are giving the prize to a children's book.

      She took a few careful steps into the water.

  2. 2
    spending money only when it is necessary

    We're going to have to be more careful now that Dad's lost his job.

    be careful with (your) money:

    She's always been careful with money.


derived word


 British English pronunciation: carefully  adverb

a carefully worded letter

He washed the antique plates very carefully.

dark pool

a method of financial trading in which share prices are hidden and not openly available to the public

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day


an extra sail sometimes fitted on the front of a boat used for racing

Open Dictionary


to post a tweet, usually a negative one, that mentions a person without using the @ sign, so that they will not see the message on their Twitter feed …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog