variants or less commonly leary
: suspicious, wary
often used with of
leery of strangers
She seemed a little leery of the proposal.

Examples of leery in a Sentence

They were leery of their neighbors.
Recent Examples on the Web After a few close calls during their escape, Lisbon was leery of Ottawa abolitionist John Hossack, who offered to feed and house them. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 12 Sep. 2023 But the White House has been leery of involvement in the case, which is politically fraught. Carol Rosenberg, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 People were leery of socializing with those against whom Disney had a grudge — most of all Babbitt, who left the studio for good in 1947. Francine Uenuma, Washington Post, 4 Sep. 2023 Lenders are pulling back, leery of borrowers who have struggled with high inflation and a surge in interest rates the last couple of years, and have piled on debt to make ends meet. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 19 July 2023 For that reason, studios may be leery to accept AI-reliant pitches and scripts that could leave them open to lawsuits. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 May 2023 But now, in part because there's no longer a surefire Hall of Famer under center in Green Bay, the Bears are at least a step behind in their rebuild and football experts were leery of the Vikings' legitimacy last season, the Lions are the last team standing. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 20 July 2023 Others were leery of talking on the record because Feinstein’s failing health has also been such a fraught topic. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2023 And many—probably most—prospective passengers will be leery of flying on an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Kamesh Namuduri, IEEE Spectrum, 8 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1718, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of leery was in 1718

Dictionary Entries Near leery

Cite this Entry

“Leery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: suspicious sense 2, wary
leery of strangers

More from Merriam-Webster on leery

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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