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 These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before — these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. David Canfield, EW.com, "Exclusive: See where Cassandra Clare is headed for her Chain of Gold tour," 14 Jan. 2020 The dangerous waves can lift heavy driftwood logs and drag unwary beach goers into the ocean. Emily Goodykoontz | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Portland metro Saturday weather: Cold, foggy morning with a mostly sunny afternoon," 23 Nov. 2019 Sneaker waves -- large waves that strike without warning -- sometimes claim lives of the unwary due to their unpredictability. Fox News, "Iceland 'sneaker waves' sweep away group of tourists moments after man hurt, prompting safety review," 20 Nov. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for unwary

Time Traveler

The first known use of unwary was in 1579

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Cite this Entry

“Unwary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwary. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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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

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