un·​wary | \ ˌən-ˈwer-ē How to pronounce unwary (audio) \

Definition of unwary

: not alert : easily fooled or surprised : heedless, gullible cheats unwary tourists

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Other Words from unwary

unwarily \ ˌən-​ˈwer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce unwarily (audio) \ adverb
unwariness \ ˌən-​ˈwer-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce unwariness (audio) \ noun

Examples of unwary in a Sentence

The fast-moving tide sometimes surprises unwary swimmers. e-mail scams that take advantage of unwary computer users
Recent Examples on the Web The photographs were taken while the unwary audience sat in total darkness, the exposures being made with subdued infrared light. Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Times, "From the Archives: 1949 UCLA humor study," 7 Aug. 2019 The hairy frogfish, part of the anglerfish family, has fluorescent proteins in its lure, which may help attract unwary prey. Smithsonian, "Amazing Photos Reveal the Hidden Light of Undersea Life," 25 July 2019 An unwary statistician might conclude that Indian prices have dropped dramatically. The Economist, "A former official casts doubt on India’s GDP figures," 15 June 2019 The lipstick on the pale faces of Suspiria’s unwary ballerinas, and their nail polish, is red. Aja Romano, Vox, "How Suspiria turns the color red into a plot point," 9 Nov. 2018 Gopal said she's located an 80-acre property in Northwest Indiana away from highways and busy streets, where predators often prowl for unwary victims. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "Group leading effort to help sex trafficking victims in Northwest Indiana," 25 May 2018 Spin moves the only highlights After that the main interests were: First noting that that alley-oopsy thing was contagious, as the Pacers' Bojan Bogdanovic threw one that made unwary fans in the first few rows consider wearing helmets. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers look bad dropping opener to Indiana Pacers: Bill Livingston," 15 Apr. 2018 For the most part, Krasinski makes the basics feel iconic rather than generic: an out-of-focus shadow dashing across a hallway; a nail sticking up from a stair tread, waiting for an unwary foot. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘A Quiet Place’ is a horror movie that puts a premium on silence," 4 Apr. 2018 Almost every year a careless snowmobiler or unwary hiker dies on the ice near the Richardson Highway. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s ice fields and ice caves are worth exploring — but do so cautiously," 27 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of unwary

1579, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for unwary

Time Traveler for unwary

The first known use of unwary was in 1579

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More Definitions for unwary


How to pronounce unwary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unwary

: easily fooled or surprised : not aware of and careful about possible problems, dangers, etc.


un·​wary | \ ˌən-ˈwer-ē How to pronounce unwary (audio) \
unwarier; unwariest

Kids Definition of unwary

: easily fooled or surprised unwary buyers

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More from Merriam-Webster on unwary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unwary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unwary

Spanish Central: Translation of unwary

Nglish: Translation of unwary for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unwary

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


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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