be·​ware bi-ˈwer How to pronounce beware (audio)

intransitive verb

: to be on one's guard
beware of the dog

transitive verb

: to take care of
beware your wallet
: to be wary of
we must … beware the exceedingly tenuous generalizationMatthew Lipman

Examples of beware in a Sentence

A ghostly voice cried “Beware!”. He told them to beware. The restaurant's food is excellent, but beware the chili if you don't like spicy food.
Recent Examples on the Web And another thing to beware of companies that stamp their glasses with the ISO logo when they are not actually lab approved. Ella Gonzales, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3 Apr. 2024 But investors should already beware of the risks of investing in the stock market, perhaps even more so with a Trump digital venture. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 21 Mar. 2024 Grip and Handle Cork or modern polymer grip material is a personal choice, but buyers should beware of any materials that aren’t made to handle extreme temperature and exposure to the elements. Max Inchausti, Field & Stream, 28 Mar. 2024 Ice fishers warned to beware thin ice Officials are reminding fishers this year to use extra precautions to avoid personal danger and costly equipment losses. USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2024 Your boyfriend wasn’t afraid to approach his mom, where the parent to beware is one who must be handled like unexploded ordnance. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2024 Read on, but beware mild spoilers for those who didn't read the book first. Susan Young, Peoplemag, 14 Mar. 2024 For his part, Boyd's second husband has no need to beware. Guy Martin, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 All snowfall is expected to turn into a cold drizzle by the evening, but after temperatures drop overnight, beware slick roads where Friday night's rain turns into Saturday morning's ice. Kylie Martin, Detroit Free Press, 12 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beware.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English been war, from been "to be" + war "cognizant, ware entry 1"

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of beware was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near beware

Cite this Entry

“Beware.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


be·​ware bi-ˈwa(ə)r How to pronounce beware (audio)
: to be on one's guard
beware of the dog
: to be suspicious of
beware the quick excuse

More from Merriam-Webster on beware

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