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caution

[kaw-shuh n] /ˈkɔ ʃən/
noun
1.
alertness and prudence in a hazardous situation; care; wariness:
Landslides ahead—proceed with caution.
2.
a warning against danger or evil; anything serving as a warning:
By way of caution, he told me the difficulties I would face.
3.
Informal. a person or thing that astonishes or causes mild apprehension:
She's a caution. The way he challenges your remarks is a caution.
verb (used with object)
4.
to give warning to; advise or urge to take heed.
verb (used without object)
5.
to warn or advise:
The newspapers caution against overoptimism.
Origin of caution
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English caucion < Latin cautiōn- (stem of cautiō) a taking care, equivalent to caut(us), past participle of cavēre to guard against (cau- take care, guard + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
cautioner, noun
overcaution, noun, verb (used with object)
recaution, verb (used with object)
supercaution, noun
uncautioned, adjective
well-cautioned, adjective
Synonyms
1. circumspection, discretion, watchfulness, heed, vigilance. 2. admonition, advice, counsel. 4. admonish, forewarn. See warn.
Antonyms
1. carelessness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for caution
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He went up to the portires, opened them with some caution and peered in.

    "Persons Unknown" Virginia Tracy
  • At least, they would go with caution down his trail after that first check.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • The wind blew toward me and the game was too far for the need of caution, so I walked rapidly in their direction.

  • John remembered his mother's caution that he was not to let his Uncle talk much.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • He maturely weighed his plans; the skill and caution of the execution could alone justify the temerity of the resolve.

British Dictionary definitions for caution

caution

/ˈkɔːʃən/
noun
1.
care, forethought, or prudence, esp in the face of danger; wariness
2.
something intended or serving as a warning; admonition
3.
(law, mainly Brit) a formal warning given to a person suspected or accused of an offence that his words will be taken down and may be used in evidence
4.
a notice entered on the register of title to land that prevents a proprietor from disposing of his or her land without a notice to the person who entered the caution
5.
(informal) an amusing or surprising person or thing: she's a real caution
verb
6.
(transitive) to urge or warn (a person) to be careful
7.
(transitive) (law, mainly Brit) to give a caution to (a person)
8.
(intransitive) to warn, urge, or advise: he cautioned against optimism
Derived Forms
cautioner, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin cautiō, from cavēre to beware
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 caution
n.

c.1300, "bail, guarantee, pledge," from Old French caution "security, surety" (13c.), from Latin cautionem (nominative cautio) "caution, care, foresight, precaution," noun of action from past participle stem of cavere "to be on one's guard" (see caveat). The Latin sense re-emerged in English 16c.-17c. Meaning "word of warning" is from c.1600.

v.

"to warn," 1640s, from caution (n.). Related: Cautioned; cautioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with caution
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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