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(1)   Activity involved in maintaining something in good working order
"He wrote the manual on car care"
(2)   The work of providing treatment for or attending to someone or something
"No medical care was required"
"The old car needs constant attention"
(3)   Attention and management implying responsibility for safety
"He is in the care of a bodyguard"
(4)   Judiciousness in avoiding harm or danger
"He exercised caution in opening the door"
"He handled the vase with care"
(5)   A cause for feeling concern
"His major care was the illness of his wife"
(6)   An anxious feeling
"Care had aged him"
"They hushed it up out of fear of public reaction"


(7)   Feel concern or interest
"I really care about my work"
"I don't care"
(8)   Prefer or wish to do something
"Do you care to try this dish?"
"Would you like to come along to the movies?"


  1. Grief, sorrow.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book V:
      Than Feraunte his cosyn had grete care and cryed full lowde [...].
  2. A concern or responsibility.
    Care should be taken when holding babies.
    I don't have a care in the world.
  3. The career/subject of looking after people.
  4. Not looked after by parents or foster parents (in care).

  • 1925: Walter Anthony and Tom Reed (titles), Rupert Julian (director), The Phantom of the Opera, silent movie
    ‘Have a care, Buquet—ghosts like not to be seen or talked about!’


  1. To be concerned about, have an interest in.
    I don't care what you think.
  2. To look after.
    Young children can learn to care for a pet.
  3. To be mindful of.
  4. Polite or formal way to say want.
    Would you care for another slice of cake?
    Would you care to dance?

Usage notes
  • Sense 4. Most commonly found as an interrogative or negative sentence.
  • Sense 4. This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs