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verb, \ˈver-ē\

Simple Definition of vary

  • : to be different or to become different

  • : to make (something) different : to make changes to (something) so that it is not always the same

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of vary


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a partial change in :  make different in some attribute or characteristic

  3. 2 :  to make differences between items in :  diversify

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to exhibit or undergo change <the sky was constantly varying>

  6. 2 :  deviate, depart

  7. 3 :  to take on successive values <y varies inversely with x>

  8. 4 :  to exhibit divergence in structural or physiological characters from the typical form

varyingly play \-iŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of vary in a sentence

  1. The terrain varies as you climb higher.

  2. The cost of a room at the hotel varies with the season.

  3. Their services vary depending on the customer.

  4. They've tried to improve their procedures, with varying degrees of success.

  5. The diamonds vary in size.

  6. Colors vary from light to dark.

  7. I try to vary my diet by eating different kinds of foods.

Origin of vary

Middle English varien, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French varier, from Latin variare, from varius various

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of vary

change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another <changed the shirt for a larger size>. alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity <slightly altered the original design>. vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition <vary your daily routine>. modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose <modified the building for use by the disabled>.

VARY Defined for Kids


verb \ˈver-ē\

Definition of vary for Students


  1. 1 :  to make a partial change in <He varied the rhythm of the poem.>

  2. 2 :  to make or be of different kinds <She varies her exercise routine.>

  3. 3 :  to show or undergo change <The sky constantly varies.>

  4. 4 :  to differ from the usual members of a group

Medical Dictionary


intransitive verb \ˈver-ē, ˈvar-ē\

Medical Definition of vary

varied; varying

  1. :  to exhibit divergence in structural or physiological characters from the typical form

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up vary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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