alertness and prudence in a hazardous situation; care; wariness: Landslides ahead—proceed with caution.
a warning against danger or evil; anything serving as a warning: By way of caution, he told me the difficulties I would face.
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)
to give warning to; advise or urge to take heed.
verb (used without object)
to warn or advise: The newspapers caution against overoptimism.

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

cautioner, noun
overcaution, noun, verb (used with object)
recaution, verb (used with object)
supercaution, noun
uncautioned, adjective
well-cautioned, adjective

1. circumspection, discretion, watchfulness, heed, vigilance. 2. admonition, advice, counsel. 4. admonish, forewarn. See warn.

1. carelessness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caution (ˈkɔːʃən)
1.  care, forethought, or prudence, esp in the face of danger; wariness
2.  something intended or serving as a warning; admonition
3.  chiefly (Brit) law 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
6.  (tr) to urge or warn (a person) to be careful
7.  chiefly (Brit) (tr) law to give a caution to (a person)
8.  (intr) to warn, urge, or advise: he cautioned against optimism
[C13: from Old French, from Latin cautiō, from cavēre to beware]

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

c.1300, "bail, guarantee, pledge," from O.Fr., "security, surety," from L. cautionem (nom. cautio), from cautus pp. of cavere "to be on one's guard" (see caveat). The Latin sense re-emerged in Eng. 16c.-17c. The verb sense of "to warn" is from 1640s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see throw caution to the winds.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Next up, was the parade of oversized moose warning signs, some complete with
  flashing caution lights.
But whatever your take on the policy proposals, it's worth approaching the rosy
  claims made on its behalf with extreme caution.
But they caution not to read too much into the finds.
The instability of the evolutionary trees being produced should make us proceed
  with caution.
Idioms & Phrases
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