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guardian- a person who cares for persons or property

caretaker - a custodian who is hired to take care of something (property or a person)

Is there any difference between a caretaker and a guardian. I have to say I'm a bit surprised by the dictionary definition of caretaker. To my knowledge, a caretaker is like a temporary guardian. I could be wrong.

Please advise. Thanks!
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A guardian will usually have legal rights regarding the person they are taking care of. I would not use the word guardian to apply to property. (Perhaps another US/UK difference.)

A caretaker simply provides "care." I think of a caretaker far more for property than a person. Interestingly, a "caregiver" is almost the same word, but used for people. A babysitter, a nanny, or a doctor are all caregivers.

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I got it all wrong. I wonder what you would call in the following context

A group of children were taken away and are currently at a shelter with caretakers/caregivers.
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Temporary guardians, or caretakers - it does work with children in this context. Actually caregivers and care providers all work in this instance. The context makes it so clear.

I was just remarking to my coworker that it's funny that caretaker and caregiver sound like they should be opposites, but they are not!
Grammar GeekTemporary guardians, or caretakers - it does work with children in this context.
I think of a caretaker as a vocation and a guardian as a responsibility.

Personally I'd never use caretaker for a child under some sort of protection order.
Thanks GG. Bokeh, thanks for your opinion. For what it's worth, an article on CNN used caretakers.
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I wonder, then, what we would call the person who receives the care. She is taking it from someone who gives it, but is not a "caretaker." Interesting definition puzzle!
  • the cared-for (Nel noddings) :academic term-receiver

  • the carer (Nel noddings) :academic term-giver