Definition of chary
charilyplay \ˈcher-ə-lē\ adverb
chary was our Word of the Day on 06/29/2010. Hear the podcast!
Examples of chary in a sentence
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
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of chary
CHARY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of chary for English Language Learners
: cautious about doing something
Seen and Heard
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