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(be) careful what you wish for(, (because) you just might get it)

A warning that something that one desires might prove to problematic or undesirable were it to happen or come true. A: "I just wish they would give me a promotion with more responsibilities in work." B: "Be careful what you wish for. You might end up regretting how much more stressful your job becomes." A: "I don't know what to do with her—she's totally infatuated with Kevin and doesn't see what a jerk he can be." B: "Well, if they ever date, she'll figure it out. You know what they say—be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
See also: careful, get, just, might, what, wish

be careful

To act cautiously. Usually issued as a warning. Be careful when you go out in the city at night. Be careful with that box—don't bang around my glassware! Be careful! Stay with the tour guide!
See also: careful

be careful not to (do something)

Proceed cautiously, in an attempt to avoid potential problems or pitfalls. This phrase is often said as a warning or instruction. I was careful not to make any noise as I crept into the house after curfew. As you plan your talk, be careful not to bore the audience with scientific terms they won't understand. This plate is very hot—be careful not to burn yourself.
See also: careful, not, to

be careful what you wish for(, it might (just) come true)

cliché When we desire for some thing or situation to drastically change, the reality of the outcome might end up being worse than how things were before. A: "It's all so unfair! I wish I didn't even have a family!" B: "Hey—be careful what you wish for! I bet you'd regret saying that if anything bad ever happened to us or your brother!" A: "I want so badly to be a famous superstar singer!" B: "I've heard that they tend to have the most stressful, joyless lives in the world. So be careful what you wish for, it might come true."
See also: careful, come, might, what, wish

careful not to (do something)

A warning or instruction that one proceed cautiously, in an attempt to avoid potential problems or pitfalls. I was careful not to make any noise as I crept into the house after curfew. As you plan your talk, be careful not to bore the audience with scientific terms they won't understand. This plate is very hot—be careful not to burn yourself.
See also: careful, not, to

if you can't be good, be careful

If you can't stop yourself from behaving improperly, try to limit the degree of risk or danger involved. If you can't be good, be careful, OK? Please try not to get into too much trouble.
See also: careful, if

under scrutiny

Being scrutinized, examined, or monitored very carefully. Often modified by words such as "careful" or "close" between "under" and "scrutiny." The government kept the company under close scrutiny on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. You'll be under scrutiny during this probationary period of your employment.

you can't be too careful

One must exercise the utmost caution and prudence (in the face of a very dangerous, risky, or problematic thing or situation). I'm sure everything is in order, but I'd like to have my lawyer read over the contract one more time—you can't be too careful. I think you should wear one of those holsters that keeps your passport and some extra cash hidden under your clothes. You can't be too careful when you're traveling abroad alone, you know.
See also: careful
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Be careful

1. an instruction to take care in a particular situation. Bill: I'm going to the beach tomorrow. Sally: Be careful. Use lots of sunscreen! Jane: Well, we're off to the Amazon. Mary: Heavens! Be careful!
2. a way of saying good-bye while cautioning someone to take care. John: See you around, Fred. Fred: Be careful. Alice: Well, I'm off. John: Bye, Alice, be careful.
See also: careful

careful not to do something

using care to avoid some difficulty or difficulties. Please be careful not to discuss politics with Mr. Brown. Please be careful not to leave the house unlocked.
See also: careful, not, to

careful (with something)

treating or handling something with caution. Please be careful with the vase. It's old and valuable. That's too big a load. Be careful!

If you can't be good, be careful.

Prov. If you are going to do immoral things, make sure they are not dangerous.; If you are going to do something immoral, make sure to keep it secret. (Sometimes used as a flippant way of saying good-bye.) Be a good girl on your vacation trip. Or if you can't be good, be careful. Ernest likes to close his letters with, "If you can't be good, be careful."
See also: careful, if

*under (close) scrutiny

Fig. being watched or examined closely. (*Typically: be ~; have someone or something ~; keep someone or something ~.) The suspect was kept under scrutiny throughout the investigation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

you can’t be too ˈcareful

used to warn somebody that they should be careful to avoid danger or problems: Don’t stay out in the sun for too long — you can’t be too careful.
See also: careful
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
"We have to be careful with that, knowing the other options we are preparing and there'll be a moment when everything will be balanced."
Ramsden said that not all outages are due to hacking and banks would need to be careful about how they manage their outages.
"Our drivers should be very careful while driving in foggy areas and they also observe traffic rules and guidelines," she said.
'I strongly advise people to be more careful about health problems that may occur during the Khmer New Year festival in conjunction with the current hot weather.
Mr Shafqaat told Dawn that a number of people rushed to the mountains upon hearing about the weather, which was why he advised them to be careful as roads can be slippery, increasing the risk of accidents.
"Be careful again with military lalo na 'yang mga rebelde tapos na-rehab because they were extended pardon by Aquino.
Do these new speed limits only apply to careful drivers with a full driving licence, whose vehicle is taxed and insured, or am I missing out on something here?
"We must be very careful on Eid ul Azha taking maximum preventive measures while dealing with sacrificial animals," he added.
Power cuts caused by striking electricity company (EAC) workers trapped dozens in elevators on Tuesday, as police urged the public to be extra careful when approaching traffic lights that were out of order.
Be Careful Be careful what you say Be careful what you think We all do it everyday And it lands us in trouble It's been a great harvest The apples and pears Let's paint the stairs and doors Before the leaves fall off It's cost us a lot for holidays And some dreams fail The teenagers have the gadgets And the magic words It's their world now With sheep and cows The price of food has shot up And who will pay the bills It's still a wonderful world If you believe it And we all like a treat And beautiful feet The rain has stopped now And the shoeboxes are away All the words have been said So let's go to bed and dream About September and October KENNETH MOOD, Swalwell, Gateshead
Luke's Global City, her mother-in-law and her medical mentor converged at a palatial house in Victoria Valley, the site of a shoot for an episode of "Be Careful with My Heart," the teleserye.
Respondents were least likely to select high-cost providers as high-value providers if the cost information was provided by a 1 to 3 star rank in a column labeled "careful with your health care dollars" (1 star = less careful/higher costs; 2 stars = somewhat careful/average costs; 3 stars = very careful/lower costs), rather than providers with the "average cost of office visit" listed in dollars.
IN REPLY to careful driver (Letters, June 14) regards parking of cars on Lamb Hall Road, Longwood.
Saint George, UT, September 15, 2011 --( From the moment we are born, someone is telling us to be careful. No matter what country we call home or what language we speak, I Love You, Be Careful - a picture book that is also designed to be a gift book for adults and children alike - shares these word that follow us our entire lives.
Among these careful drivers, 69% say that they are most cautious about staying within the speed limit and maintaining a safe distance with other vehicles.
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