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1. Taking insufficient care; negligent: a careless housekeeper; careless proofreading.
2. Marked by or resulting from lack of forethought or thoroughness: a careless mistake.
3. Showing a lack of consideration: a careless remark.
4. Unconcerned or indifferent; heedless: careless of the consequences.
5. Unstudied or effortless: danced with careless grace.
6. Exhibiting a disposition that is free from cares; cheerful: a careless grin; a careless wave of the hand.

care′less·ly adv.
care′less·ness n.
Synonyms: careless, heedless, thoughtless, inadvertent
These adjectives apply to people who perform actions marked by insufficient care or attention or to the actions themselves. Careless often implies negligence or casual indifference: "It is natural for careless writers to run into faults they never think of" (George Berkeley).
Heedless can suggest willful or reckless disregard: "She ... watched the top of the hill for someone drunk or heedless coming over it in part of her lane" (Andre Dubus).
Thoughtless applies to actions taken without due consideration; it frequently implies lack of concern for others: "a thoughtless remark about the war that will worry an already worried child" (Kristin Henderson).
Inadvertent implies unintentional lack of care or attention: "For the deterrence theorists, the greatest worry was inadvertent war, a cataclysm that might follow from misperception" (Eliot A. Cohen).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  1. Act with the calm forethought of a beheaded chicken —Herman Wouk

    In his novel, Inside, Outside, Wouk used the comparison to describe the behavior of political characters.

  2. Careless as a child at play —William Winter
  3. Careless as saints who live by faith alone —George Garrett
  4. [Charles de Gaulle] has been abysmally careless, like a man running a bus over mountains, who forgot to equip it with good brakes —Janet Flanner
  5. Ignore caution like a gambler with a hot tip —Anon
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



asleep at the switch Off one’s guard; negligent; having slow reflexes. This expression derives from early American railroad terminology. To switch a train is to transfer it from one track to another, and an unaware or negligent worker who was “asleep at the switch” could cause a serious accident. The expression is no longer restricted to railroad usage and can apply to any irresponsible lack of attention which could have adverse consequences.

give short shrift To pay little attention or give insufficient time or consideration to a person or matter; to treat in a cursory or perfunctory manner. Shrift is an archaic word for confession or absolution (from the verb shrive). Short shrift originally referred to the brief period prior to an execution during which a prisoner could make a confession to a priest.

Short trial, shorter shrift, had been given to the chief criminals. (William Hepworth Dixon, Royal Windsor, 1879)

The phrase eventually came into more general use referring to any brief respite or short period of time. Thus “to give short shrift” means to treat summarily or brusquely, giving little of one’s time or energy.

Every argument … tells with still greater force against the present measure, and it is hoped that the House of Commons will give it short shrift tonight. (Times, February 15, 1887)

a lick and a promise A hasty and perfunctory way of doing something; a half-hearted or nominal compliance with a request or command. In this expression, lick is used in the colloquial sense of ‘a slight and hasty wash,’ implying a lackadaisical or superficial performance of a task. Promise implies an assurance that a more complete and thorough job will be done at some unspecified time in the future.

The lassie gi’es a lick and a promise when I tell her to sweep! (E. F. Heddle, Marget at Manse, 1899)

slap:bang Hastily, often without consideration of possible consequences; hurriedly; haphazardly. This expression was originally used to describe sleazy eateries and “greasy spoons” where one received fast service by “slapping” his money down to pay for food that was indelicately “banged” onto the table.

They lived in the same street, walked to town every morning at the same hour, dined at the same slap-bang every day, and revelled in each other’s company every night. (Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, 1837)

Thus, by extension, slap-bang came to refer to anything done in a quick, careless, and unceremonious manner.

After fooling a man like a child in leading-strings for half a year, to let him go slap-bang, as I call it, in a minute, is an infernal shame. (Theodore Hook, The Parson’s Daughter, 1833)

slapdash Carelessly; in a hasty though thoughtless manner; hurriedly; haphazardly. Originally, slapdash was a technique of painting a wall to give it the appearance of wallpaper by “slapping” on a coat of paint and then “dashing” or splashing on spots or blotches of a contrasting color. Although slapdash is frequently applied as a criticism to a writer’s or an artist’s style, it is also applied in other contexts to denote careless haste.

I cannot plunge, slapdash, into the middle of events and characters. (Sir George Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay 1838)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.carelessness - the quality of not being careful or taking pains
inattentiveness - the trait of not being considerate and thoughtful of others
incaution, incautiousness - the trait of forgetting or ignoring possible danger
neglectfulness, negligence, neglect - the trait of neglecting responsibilities and lacking concern
unconscientiousness - the trait of not being painstaking or careful
carefulness - the quality of being careful and painstaking; "I admired the carefulness of his work"
2.carelessness - failure to act with the prudence that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances
nonaccomplishment, nonachievement - an act that does not achieve its intended goal
dereliction - willful negligence
comparative negligence - (law) negligence allocated between the plaintiff and the defendant with a corresponding reduction in damages paid to the plaintiff
concurrent negligence - (law) negligence of two of more persons acting independently; the plaintiff may sue both together or separately
contributory negligence - (law) behavior by the plaintiff that contributes to the harm resulting from the defendant's negligence; "in common law any degree of contributory negligence would bar the plaintiff from collecting damages"
criminal negligence, culpable negligence - (law) recklessly acting without reasonable caution and putting another person at risk of injury or death (or failing to do something with the same consequences)
neglect of duty - (law) breach of a duty
dodging, escape, evasion - nonperformance of something distasteful (as by deceit or trickery) that you are supposed to do; "his evasion of his clear duty was reprehensible"; "that escape from the consequences is possible but unattractive"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun negligence, neglect, omission, indiscretion, inaccuracy, irresponsibility, slackness, inattention, sloppiness (informal), laxity, thoughtlessness, laxness, remissness The accident was caused by sheer carelessness.
"Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater"
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


A careless, often reckless disregard for consequences:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
عَدَمُ اهْتِمامٍ حِرْصٍ


[ˈkɛəlɪsnɪs] N
1. (= negligence) → falta f de atención, falta f de cuidado
through sheer carelessnesspor simple falta de atención or cuidado
the carelessness of his workla falta de atención or cuidado con la que hace su trabajo
2. (= casualness) → despreocupación f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈkɛərləsnɪs] n
(= lack of care) → manque m de soin
(= negligence) → négligence f
(= ease, casualness) → insouciance fcare plan nprogramme m de soins
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= negligence, heedlessness, of person, worker, work) → Nachlässigkeit f; (of driver)Unvorsicht(igkeit) f; (of driving)Leichtsinn m; (of remark)Gedankenlosigkeit f
(= carefreeness)Sorglosigkeit f, → Unbekümmertheit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈkɛəlɪsnɪs] n (see adj) → disattenzione f, mancanza d'impegno, negligenza, mancanza di tatto
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(keə) noun
1. close attention. Do it with care.
2. keeping; protection. Your belongings will be safe in my care.
3. (a cause for) worry. free from care; all the cares of the world.
4. treatment. medical care; skin care.
1. to be anxious or concerned. Don't you care if you fail?; I couldn't care less (= It's of no importance to me); She really cares about her career.
2. to be willing (to). Would you care to have dinner with me?
ˈcareful adjective
1. taking care; being cautious. Be careful when you cross the street; a careful driver.
2. thorough. a careful search.
ˈcarefully adverb
ˈcarefulness noun
ˈcareless adjective
not careful (enough). This work is careless; a careless worker.
ˈcarelessly adverb
ˈcarelessness noun
ˈcarefree adjective
light-hearted. a carefree attitude.
care'giver noun
someone whose job is to look after a sick or disabled person.
ˈcaretaker noun
a person who looks after a building etc.
ˈcareworn adjective
worn out by worry. a careworn face.
ˈcare for
1. to look after (someone). The nurse will care for you.
2. to be fond of. I don't care for him enough to marry him.
care of (usually written c/o)
at the house or address of.
take care
to be cautious, watchful, thorough etc. Take care or you will fall!
take care of
to look after. Their aunt took care of them when their parents died.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n. descuido; negligencia.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n descuido
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He would not even have seen after their going to church on Sundays, only Joseph and the curate reprimanded his carelessness when they absented themselves; and that reminded him to order Heathcliff a flogging, and Catherine a fast from dinner or supper.
It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."
"Do you want to kill yourself?" She greeted him with affected carelessness, and appeared absorbed in her occupation.
No one has ever considered me a miser since, while my carelessness of money is a source of anxiety and worry to some that know me.
"I testified to the effect that Jackson injured himself by neglect and carelessness, and that the company was not in any way to blame or liable."
The student duels in Germany occasion two or three deaths every year, now, but this arises only from the carelessness of the wounded men; they eat or drink imprudently, or commit excesses in the way of overexertion; inflammation sets in and gets such a headway that it cannot be arrested.
Thoroughgood, "many first-rate horses have had their knees broken through the carelessness of their drivers without any fault of their own, and from what I see of this horse I should say that is his case; but of course I do not wish to influence you.
There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon.
The fireworks over, the company dispersed about the gardens and beneath the marble porticoes with the delightful liberty which reveals in the master of the house so much forgetfulness of greatness, so much courteous hospitality, so much magnificent carelessness. The poets wandered about, arm in arm, through the groves; some reclined upon beds of moss, to the great damage of velvet clothes and curled heads, into which little dried leaves and blades of grass insinuated themselves.
Lorry, Charles Darnay made some mention of this conversation in general terms, and spoke of Sydney Carton as a problem of carelessness and recklessness.
It was great carelessness of him, she said, to leave no one to watch the ship with her.
The sky was bright and the wind fair, nor had we the least apprehension of the danger into which we were falling, but with the utmost carelessness and jollity held on our course.