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 generalization Matthew Lipman

Example Sentences

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 The Bruins must also beware of TE Dalton Kincaid, an excellent red-zone weapon for the Utes with five TD grabs. USA TODAY, 8 Oct. 2022 And in the heat of summer, workers must beware of dehydration from the heat. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 20 Sep. 2022 Cooks must also beware of volcanic eruptions that can burn, which is why covering the pot with a lid between stirrings is a good idea, to protect oneself from splatters. Aaron Hutcherson, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2022 Spooky season may be over, but buyers beware as grocery store prices show no signs of tipping down as Thanksgiving, full of festive and large meals, creeps closer. Olivia Evans, The Courier-Journal, 7 Nov. 2022 Shutting down the Diablos’ passing attack will be a challenge, but if the pass rush is effective, beware. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2022 Shahsavari, the head of the House of Cinema, told Masihzadeh to beware—people could use her accusation as an opportunity to impugn the prestige of Iranian cinema. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2022 To help thwart potential school violence, students and staff need to beware of certain warning signs – and feel comfortable reporting them. Holly Yan, CNN, 26 Oct. 2022 The commission said that while the bacterium is unlikely to affect people with healthy immune systems, those with compromised systems should beware. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 26 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beware.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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