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[kair-lis] /ˈkɛər lɪs/
not paying enough attention to what one does:
a careless typist.
not exact, accurate, or thorough:
careless work.
done or said heedlessly or negligently; unconsidered:
a careless remark.
not caring or troubling; having no care or concern; unconcerned (usually followed by of, about, or in):
careless of the rights of others; careless about one's behavior; careless in speech.
possessed or caused without effort or art; unstudied:
careless beauty.
Archaic. free from anxiety.
before 1000; Middle English; Old English carlēas. See care, -less
Related forms
carelessly, adverb
carelessness, noun
overcareless, adjective
overcarelessly, adverb
overcarelessness, noun
1. inattentive, incautious, unwary, indiscreet, reckless. 2. inaccurate, negligent. 3. unthoughtful, unmindful. 4. thoughtless, forgetful; inconsiderate.
1–4. careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for carelessly
  • If resources are carelessly managed, many will be used up.
  • So firing phosphorus weapons carelessly in a civilian area, or deliberately targeting civilians, could step over the line.
  • Fires ignited carelessly under hot and dry conditions, can often and should be prevented.
  • We are supposed to neither cling ruthlessly to the old, nor jump carelessly to the new.
  • The public has a right to know who is playing so carelessly with the well-being of posterity.
  • Make the drivers test difficult, take away license when someone is caught driving dangerously or carelessly.
  • After consumption, the nutrients are carelessly flushed into our waterways, eventually finding its way to our oceans.
  • The writer uses them to advance his narrative and carelessly drops them when they have performed their function.
  • They're overbearing, carelessly told, and gang-written into incomprehensibility.
  • Your column carelessly insinuates that the coaches whose players have died are at fault for those deaths.
British Dictionary definitions for carelessly


done with or acting with insufficient attention; negligent
often foll by in, of, or about. unconcerned in attitude or action; heedless; indifferent (to): she's very careless about her clothes
(usually prenominal) carefree
(usually prenominal) unstudied; artless: an impression of careless elegance
Derived Forms
carelessly, adverb
carelessness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carelessly



Old English carleas "free from anxiety; unconcerned," from care (n.) + -less; a compound probably from Proto-Germanic. Original senses extinct by mid-17c.; main modern meaning "not paying attention, inattentive, not taking due care" is first recorded 1560s (in carelessly).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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