Acting without thinking things through is carelessness. Don't try to text a friend while you're riding your bike, or your carelessness may send you crashing into a mailbox.

You can think of carelessness as negligence, a failure to pay close attention or carefully consider the possible ramifications of your actions. Driver carelessness causes many traffic accidents, and a writer's carelessness can result in grammatical errors and misspellings. The Old English version of this word, carleasnes, meant "freedom from anxiety," something closer to nonchalance than today's carelessness.

Definitions of carelessness

n failure to act with the prudence that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances

neglect, negligence, nonperformance
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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
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
a failure to act when under an obligation to do so; a refusal (without sufficient excuse) to do that which it is your legal duty to do
escape mechanism
a form of behavior that evades unpleasant realities
malingering, skulking
evading duty or work by pretending to be incapacitated
goldbricking, goofing off, shirking, slacking, soldiering
the evasion of work or duty
the act of evading by going around
Type of:
nonaccomplishment, nonachievement
an act that does not achieve its intended goal

n the quality of not being careful or taking pains

the quality of being careful and painstaking
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incaution, incautiousness
the trait of forgetting or ignoring possible danger
neglect, neglectfulness, negligence
the trait of neglecting responsibilities and lacking concern
the trait of not being painstaking or careful
the trait of not being cautious and watchful
delinquency, dereliction, willful neglect
a tendency to be negligent and uncaring
laxity, laxness, remissness, slackness
the quality of being lax and neglectful
a lack of caution in practical affairs
Type of:
the trait of not being considerate and thoughtful of others

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