In Care Of: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
April 19, 2024

"In care of," often abbreviated as "c/o," is a phrase used to direct correspondence to a specific individual at an address where they do not normally receive mail. This could be used when sending a letter to someone staying at another person's house, a guest at a hotel, or an employee at a large company. For example, if you sent a letter to a friend staying at a relative's house, you might address the envelope to "John Doe c/o Jane Smith." This indicates that the letter is for John Doe but should be delivered to Jane Smith's address.

In short:

  • It directs mail to someone at an address where they don't normally receive mail.
  • It is used for guests, temporary stays, or within large organizations.

What Does "In Care Of" Mean?

"In care of" is a notation used in addressing correspondence to ensure it reaches the intended recipient at an address other than their usual one. It's a practical way to ensure that mail is forwarded or handed to the right person when they are not at their primary address. This can be particularly useful for sending invitations, important documents, or packages to someone temporarily residing elsewhere or in a situation where direct mail is not feasible.

More about the phrase's meaning:

  • It signifies that the mail should be delivered to the care of another individual at the given address.
  • Used to facilitate mail delivery when the recipient does not have a permanent or direct address.
  • It can also be used in formal documents or legal papers to designate the person responsible for another's affairs.
  • This phrase ensures that sensitive or important mail reaches the intended party securely.
  • Similar terms include "attention of" or simply "Attn:", which also directs the mail to a specific person or department within an organization.

Where Does "In Care Of" Come From?

The exact origin of "in care of" is difficult to trace, but it is a longstanding practice in postal services and correspondence management. The term "care" in this context implies that the intermediary (the person or organization at the address) is trusted to safely deliver the mail to the intended recipient. The use of "c/o" has been a common practice for many years, reflecting the practical needs of mail delivery in various living, working, and traveling situations.

10 Examples of "In Care Of" in Sentences

Here are ten examples showing how "in care of" can be used:

  • Please send all future correspondence to John Smith, in care of ABC Corporation, 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA.
  • The package was left at the front desk, in care of the receptionist, to ensure its safekeeping until your arrival.
  • I'll be staying at my aunt's house next month, in care of her and her family, while I attend the summer workshop in her city.
  • That's sweet! The thoughtful gift, sent in care of her assistant, was accompanied by a short note.
  • All donations for the charity event should be sent to the treasurer, in care of the non-profit organization's main office address.
  • In that regard, the consultant suggested that all feedback should be directed to him, in care of the project management team,
  • For the duration of the renovation, all mail and deliveries should be directed to us in care of our temporary office location.
  • The injured wildlife found in the park was placed in care of the local animal rescue center for rehabilitation and eventual release back into the wild.
  • The scholarship funds will be held in care of the university's financial aid office until they are disbursed to the recipients each semester.
  • They donated some clothes and books to the orphanage in the care of the manager. It was the least they could do to help the children.

Examples of "In Care Of" in Pop Culture

The use of "in care of" is less common in pop culture but can be found in scenarios involving letters or deliveries, especially in historical dramas or stories where characters are away from home.

Examples might include:

  • Patsy Cline recorded "Write Me In Care Of The Blues," a song where the protagonist requests a lover to write to them, essentially asking to correspond with 'In Care of the Blues.' This song is a great example of classic country, blending heartfelt emotions with simple, effective melodies.
  • "Birmingham Jail" by Slim Whitman is a traditional song that depicts a longing and affectionate message. The lyrics include the line "Send it in care of Birmingham Jail."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "In Care Of"

Alternative phrases include:

  • Attention of
  • c/o
  • For the attention of
  • Attn:
  • Via
  • Care of
  • To the hands of
  • Under the care of
  • Through the office of
  • Directed to

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "In Care Of":

  • What does "in care of" mean in an address?

It means the mail is sent to the recipient through an intermediary at the given address.

  • How do I use "c/o" in an address?

Place "c/o" followed by the name of the intermediary before the address.

  • Is "in care of" still relevant to digital communication?

While less common, it remains relevant for physical mail and certain formal communications.

  • Can "in care of" be used for parcels?

Yes, it's often used for parcels, especially when sending to someone at a temporary address.

  • Is there a difference between "in care of" and "Attn:"?

"In care of" directs mail via a third party, while "Attn:" is used to direct mail within an organization.

  • Do postal services require "in care of" for delivery?

Not required, but it helps ensure the mail reaches the intended recipient.

  • Can "in care of" be used for legal documents?

Yes, especially when designating a guardian or intermediary for legal matters.

  • How do recipients know a letter is "in care of" them?

The "c/o" notation before their name on the envelope indicates this.

  • Can I use "in care of" for international mail?

Yes, it's used internationally to facilitate mail delivery when the recipient is abroad.

  • Is it appropriate to use "in care of" for business addresses?

Yes, particularly when sending to someone at a business location where they do not have a regular mailbox.

Final Thoughts About "In Care Of"

The phrase "in care of" is important in addressing correspondence, ensuring that mail reaches individuals who might not have access to a standard mailing address. Whether used for personal letters, formal documents, or parcels, "in care of" facilitates communication and delivery in various scenarios, from personal to professional.

To summarize:

  • It's a useful notation for directing mail to the right recipient, especially in temporary or unconventional mailing situations.
  • Appropriate in both personal and professional contexts, "in care of" helps maintain the flow of mail and packages.
  • Understanding how and when to use "in care of" can benefit effective correspondence management.
  • Even in the digital age, "in care of" retains its relevance for physical mail and certain formal communications.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy