chary

play
adjective \ˈcher-ē\

Definition of chary

charier

;

chariest

  1. 1 archaic :  dear, treasured

  2. 2 :  discreetly cautious: such asa :  hesitant and vigilant about dangers and risks a government chary of getting involved in foreign entanglementsb :  slow to grant, accept, or expend a person very chary of compliments

charily

play \ˈcher-ə-lē\ adverb

chary was our Word of the Day on 06/29/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of chary in a Sentence

  1. chary investors who weren't burned by the dot-com bust

Did You Know?

It was sorrow that bred the caution of "chary." In Middle English chary meant "sorrowful," a sense that harks back to the word's Old English ancestor "caru" (an early form of "care," and another term that originally meant "sorrow" or "grief"). In a sense switch that demonstrates that love can be both bitter and sweet, "chary" later came to mean "dear" or "cherished." That's how 16th century English dramatist George Peele used it: "the chariest and the choicest queen, That ever did delight my royal eyes." Both sorrow and affection have largely faded from "chary," however, and in Modern English the word is most often used as a synonym of either "careful" or "sparing."

Origin and Etymology of chary

Middle English, sorrowful, dear, from Old English cearig sorrowful, from caru sorrow — more at care

Synonym Discussion of chary

cautious, circumspect, wary, chary mean prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk. cautious implies the exercise of forethought usually prompted by fear of danger. a cautious driver circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding. circumspect in his business dealings wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it. keeps a wary eye on the competition chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely. chary of signing papers without having read them first

CHARY Defined for English Language Learners

chary

play
adjective

Definition of chary for English Language Learners

  • : cautious about doing something



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