The term “care” comes from the Old English word “caru” or “cearu,” which means “sorrow,” “anxiety,” or “serious mental attention.” This is derived from the Proto-Germanic root “*karō,” meaning “lament” or “grief.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*ger-” means “to cry out” or “to lament.”

2. Proto-Germanic

From the PIE root, the Proto-Germanic word “*karō” developed, meaning “lament” or “grief.”

3. Old English (c. 5th to 11th century CE)

The Proto-Germanic term evolved into Old English as “caru” or “cearu,” meaning “sorrow,” “anxiety,” or “serious mental attention.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old English “caru” or “cearu” evolved into Middle English as “care,” broadening its meaning to include “serious attention,” “worry,” “concern,” and “caution.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “care” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining its various meanings of “serious attention,” “concern,” “worry,” “caution,” and “effort made to do something correctly or safely.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “care” has remained relatively stable from Old English to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Care is often used to describe serious attention or concern for someone or something.”
  • “Another example of ‘care’ in a sentence is ‘She takes great care in preparing meals for her family.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “care” was significantly influenced by its use in describing emotional states, attention to tasks, and concern for others. It has been central to discussions of healthcare, caregiving, and personal responsibility.

The word “care” reflects the concept of serious attention and concern, emphasizing the importance of looking after oneself and others, performing tasks diligently, and addressing worries and anxieties. It underscores the role of empathy, responsibility, and caution in various aspects of human life.