Etymology
Advertisement

caution (n.)

c. 1300, caucioun, "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" (from PIE root *keu- "to see, observe, perceive").

The Latin sense re-emerged in English as "prudence in regard to danger" (1650s). Meaning "word of warning, monitory advice" is from c. 1600. Meaning "anything which excites alarm or astonishment" is U.S. slang, 1835.

caution (v.)

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

updated on October 25, 2017

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of caution from WordNet
1
caution (n.)
the trait of being cautious; being attentive to possible danger;
a man of caution
Synonyms: cautiousness / carefulness
caution (n.)
a warning against certain acts;
Synonyms: caveat
caution (n.)
judiciousness in avoiding harm or danger;
he exercised caution in opening the door
Synonyms: precaution / care / forethought
caution (n.)
the trait of being circumspect and prudent;
Synonyms: circumspection
2
caution (v.)
warn strongly; put on guard;
Synonyms: admonish / monish
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.