\ ˈlir-ē How to pronounce leery (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of leery

: suspicious, wary often used with of leery of strangersShe seemed a little leery of the proposal.

Examples of leery in a Sentence

They were leery of their neighbors.

Recent Examples on the Web

Paul, a single mom, at first was leery about adopting a child with opioid exposure. Rita Giordano, Philly.com, "Love in the time of opioids: Adoption connects drug-exposed kids with new families," 7 May 2018 Some employees also were leery about the machine’s accuracy, the Journal reported. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 15 Mar. 2018 Drivers interviewed last week at a Berkeley gas station near Interstate 80, which has the Bay Area’s busiest carpool lanes, agreed with the need for better enforcement, but some were leery. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, "The battle to catch Bay Area carpool cheats takes on a new dimension," 2 Apr. 2018 Australia also requires cyclists to wear helmets, and potential customers may be leery of the public helmet Lime supplies with each bike. Mike Cherney, WSJ, "Lime Looks to Peddle Its Bicycles in Australia," 16 Jan. 2019 Even if the jobs claims are overblown, though, there are other economic factors that could make Trump leery of endangering the US-Saudi relationship, including oil prices. Emily Stewart, Vox, "“It’s not going to create or take away a single job”: Why Trump’s excuse on the Saudis doesn’t hold up," 21 Oct. 2018 Further opening the census to the internet also creates cybersecurity risks and could make Americans leery of responding online. Paul Overberg, WSJ, "For Next U.S. Census, Cameras in Space Replace Boots on the Ground," 10 Oct. 2018 Given that the market has gone so long without a major setback, investors may be leery about jumping back in right away. 4. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "4 tips following the stock market's 666-point drop," 2 Feb. 2018 Advertisers, leery of controversy and of antagonizing the Governor, shunned the paper and took their chances with a Providence Journal monopoly, which purchased the StarTribune in a bankruptcy sale and then shuttered it within months. Richard E. Farley, Town & Country, "The Great American Racetrack War," 9 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of leery

1718, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about leery

Dictionary Entries near leery








Statistics for leery

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for leery

The first known use of leery was in 1718

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for leery



English Language Learners Definition of leery

: feeling or showing a lack of trust in someone or something


\ ˈlir-ē\

Kids Definition of leery

: suspicious sense 2, wary … he was really a little leery of venturing out into New York City.— George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on leery

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with leery

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for leery

Spanish Central: Translation of leery

Nglish: Translation of leery for Spanish Speakers

Comments on leery

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!