cautious in one's actions: Be careful when you cross the street.
taking pains in one's work; exact; thorough: a careful typist.
(of things) done or performed with accuracy or caution: careful research.
solicitously mindful (usually followed by of, about, or in ): careful of the rights of others; careful about one's behavior; careful in speech.
attended with anxiety.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English carful, cearful. See care, -ful

carefully, adverb
carefulness, noun
quasi-careful, adjective
quasi-carefully, adverb
ultracareful, adjective
ultracarefully, adverb

1. watchful, guarded, chary, circumspect. Careful, cautious, discreet, wary imply a watchful guarding against something. Careful implies guarding against mistakes, by paying strict and close attention to details, and, often, trying to use good judgment: He was careful to distinguish between them. Cautious implies a fear of some unfavorable situation and investigation before coming to conclusions: cautious about investments. Discreet implies being prudent in speech and action and being trustworthy as a confidant: discreet in manner, in keeping secrets. Wary implies a vigilant lookout for a danger suspected or feared: wary of polite strangers. 2. meticulous, discerning. 2, 3. See painstaking. 3. conscientious. 4. thoughtful, concerned, solicitous, attentive, heedful, regardful.

1–4. careless. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To careful
World English Dictionary
careful (ˈkɛəfʊl)
1.  cautious in attitude or action; prudent
2.  painstaking in one's work; thorough: he wrote very careful script
3.  (usually postpositive; foll by of, in, or about) solicitous; protective: careful of one's reputation
4.  archaic full of care; anxious
5.  (Brit) mean or miserly

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. cearful "mournful," also "full of care or woe," "full of concern" (for someone or something), thus "applying attention, painstaking, circumspect;" from care + -ful.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Some photographs are happy accidents, others the painstaking result of careful
  planning and even years of practice.
At the same time, be careful about undermining your own case.
In immigration reform, be careful what you wish for.
He can read and write-skills denied you-and takes careful notes about your
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