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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 ?
Relating to things or equipment which are in our environment (Umwelt) and which are humanly useful (zuhanden) is Besorgen, also translated as carefulness (carelessness is a deficient mode of carefulness) or taking care of things.
His scientific carefulness extends even to love-making, before which he folds his trousers and places them just-so on a chair, or when he pats her hand fondly during a meal, then sets it aside so he can return to eating.
Perhaps her type of oldies exists in every family, who often exaggerate their health or financial issues just to get sympathetic carefulness from one and all.
There was no rushing into soundbites he regretted, suggesting a carefulness about comments as he realised the importance of a first impression.
With carefulness, the foreign body was dislodged from wall of pharynx and it was brought out manually after concealing its pointed ends between fingers.
Maciej Trzeciecki, however, in an essay notable for the carefulness and sophistication of its methodology, addresses the question of 'whether it is possible to reconstruct social relations on the basis of the surviving elements of material culture'.
Leadership is more about the cultivation of insight, knowledge, carefulness, courage, faith, hope, grace, endurance--not a single program or quick fix.
My personal values include a strong family commitment, carefulness, honesty and integrity.
"The policy of dialogue, carefulness and non-interference in the affairs of other nations is the best solution to establish peace between all societies and countries, as wars only produce destruction," Sleiman said during his meeting at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh, as he denounced the attack against the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran earlier this month.
Louis, contribute an extensive review of the research literature that studied the integration of character strengths (e.g., self-efficacy, perseverance, growth mindset, carefulness, courage, etc.) into CCSS-Mathematics standards in grades K-8.
In some cases, this desire, or will, may lead to a benign rebellious attitude of carefulness and creativity.
Abbas urged the Lebanese community members in Africa to excercise cautiousness and carefulness in their movements in preservation of their safety amidst the terrorist attacks facing the world.
Piglet safety and the avoidance of crushing may depend on carefulness, such as rolling behaviour and the speed of lying down (Damm et al., 2005), or caring response of sows (Wechsler and Hegglin, 1997).
One of them is the extreme carefulness in making decisions, where investors conduct extensive studies on all life aspects in the country, including economic, political and cultural, in addition to consumption patterns and population demographics.
Another lesson I may include is carefulness in playing, avoiding injuries as much as possible.
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