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.
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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.

O.E. carful-lice, from careful, with a range of meanings in O.E. corresponding to those of that word.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Academics considering the expat life should think about these questions
The ruler's sacred power, which radiated out over the city, was symbolized by
  this carefully laid-out city plan.
Ideas were carefully sketched out, and the insects were arranged into the
  desired configurations.
Carefully chosen wines can flavor a variety of dishes.
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