Cautionary is an adjective that describes something as serving as a warning or a precaution. It refers to actions, statements, or situations that are intended to advise or alert others of potential dangers, risks, or pitfalls.
A cautionary tale is a narrative that shares a moral lesson or serves as a warning by recounting a negative or disastrous experience. Such tales often aim to dissuade others from making similar mistakes or unwise decisions. For example, the cautionary tale of the boy who cried wolf warns against repeatedly making false alarms.
In everyday usage, the term cautionary may be applied to various contexts. A cautionary sign, for instance, is a visual prompt, usually in the form of a notice or a symbol, that provides essential information or warns against certain actions. These signs can be found in public areas, construction sites, or hazardous locations to minimize risks and ensure safety.
Additionally, cautionary advice or words of caution can be given by individuals to others, particularly when they perceive potential risks in a situation. This advice may include reminders about potential consequences, suggestions for prevention or alternative actions, or overall encouragement to approach a situation with care and prudence.
In summary, the adjective cautionary describes actions, statements, or situations that are intended to act as warnings or precautions, aimed at preventing potential dangers or risks from occurring.