Cautious – Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Cautious – Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Cautious meaning describes being careful, vigilant, and avoiding risks to prevent potential harm or mistakes.

History of the Word Cautious


This term has its roots in Latin, originating from cautio, meaning care or forethought. In Middle English, it evolved from caucioun to cautious, retaining the sense of being watchful and wary. Throughout history, caution has been praised as a valuable trait in literature, philosophy, and practical life.

The Renaissance saw a rise in the importance of prudence and careful judgment. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Industrial Revolution and technological advancements increased the need for its approaches in various fields.


The concept of caution continued to evolve with the growth of modern societies and economies. In the 20th century, it extended to include financial and investment prudence, safety measures, and risk management.

Today, it is a fundamental aspect of responsible decision-making in both personal and professional contexts, emphasizing the importance of considering potential consequences before taking action.

English (cautious As Adjective)


From Latin cautio, signifying care and forethought, reflecting a watchful and careful approach.


Pronounced as \ˈkȯ-shəs.

Here's a breakdown of the pronunciation:

  • cau sounds like "kaw"
  • tious sounds like "shəs"

Forms of Cautious

Adjective Cautious
Comparative Degree More cautious
Superlative Degree Most cautious
Adverb Cautiously
Noun Caution


  • Careful
  • wary
  • prudent
  • vigilant
  • circumspect
  • discreet
  • judicious
  • watchful
  • apprehensive
  • guarded


  • Reckless
  • careless
  • incautious
  • impulsive
  • heedless
  • imprudent
  • rash
  • daring
  • thoughtless
  • adventurous
  • Derived Terms
  • Cautiously
  • Caution

Translations of Cautious

  • Spanish: Cauteloso
  • French: Prudent
  • German: Vorsichtig
  • Italian: Cauto
  • Portuguese: Cauteloso
  • Dutch: Voorzichtig
  • Russian: Осторожный (Ostorozhnyy)
  • Chinese (Simplified): 谨慎的 (Jǐnshèn de)
  • Cautious meaning in Hindi: सतर्क (Satarak)
  • Urdu: ہوشیار (Hoshiyar)

Example Sentences

  • She took a cautious approach to investing her savings.
  • Drivers should always drive cautiously in adverse weather conditions.
  • The cautious detective analyzed every detail of the crime scene.

FAQS (People May Also Ask)

What does cautious mean?

It means being careful and vigilant, avoiding risks to prevent potential harm or mistakes.

Can you suggest synonyms for cautious to use in writing?

Synonyms include careful, prudent, and circumspect.

What are the antonyms of cautious to describe risky behavior?

Antonyms include reckless, careless, and impulsive.

How is caution applied in financial and investment contexts?

Being cautious in finance involves careful decision-making to minimize risks and protect assets.

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