\ ˈver-ē How to pronounce vary (audio) \
varied; varying

Definition of vary

transitive verb

1 : to make a partial change in : make different in some attribute or characteristic
2 : to make differences between items in : diversify

intransitive verb

1 : to exhibit or undergo change the sky was constantly varying
3 : to take on successive values y varies inversely with x
4 : to exhibit divergence in structural or physiological characters from the typical form

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Other Words from vary

varyingly \ ˈver-​ē-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce vary (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for vary



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Choose the Right Synonym for vary

change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another. changed the shirt for a larger size alter implies a difference in some particular respect without suggesting loss of identity. slightly altered the original design vary stresses a breaking away from sameness, duplication, or exact repetition. vary your daily routine modify suggests a difference that limits, restricts, or adapts to a new purpose. modified the building for use by the disabled

Examples of vary in a Sentence

The terrain varies as you climb higher. The cost of a room at the hotel varies with the season. Their services vary depending on the customer. They've tried to improve their procedures, with varying degrees of success. The diamonds vary in size. Colors vary from light to dark. I try to vary my diet by eating different kinds of foods.
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Recent Examples on the Web The rules for registration at local hubs vary by city and county. Dallas News, "North Texas COVID-19 vaccine guide: Everything you need to know," 11 Feb. 2021 There are four kinds of Detroit-Style pizza and prices start at $10.99 but vary by location. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Pizza Hut releases new Detroit-Style Pizza nationwide in four varieties including Double Pepperoni," 26 Jan. 2021 According to The Initium, a digital media company based in Hong Kong, around 1,000 Chinese babies are born through in vitro fertilization every year in the United States, where the laws on surrogacy vary by state. New York Times, "A Chinese Celebrity Scandal Puts Surrogate Births on Trial," 20 Jan. 2021 In Shelby County, where the population is 54% Black, internet use and computer access vary broadly by ZIP code. Wendi C. Thomas And Hannah Grabenstein, ProPublica, "Memphis-Area Residents Without Internet Must Wait Days for Vaccination Appointments, While Others Go to the Front of the Line," 15 Jan. 2021 Landlords must agree to list their units at fair market rate rents, which are set by the federal government and vary by neighborhood and zip code. Jessica Williams | Staff Writer,, "HANO, HousingNOLA, urges landlords to sign up for incentive program to house needy residents," 23 Dec. 2020 Whole Foods Market stores, Amazon Fresh stores, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and Amazon Pop Up stores also are open on Christmas Eve but hours vary by location. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Amazon ordering deadlines 2020: Prime members can get free same-day delivery through Christmas Eve," 17 Dec. 2020 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and norms on what goes in the morning vary greatly by country. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "Start your day with breakfast fare from around the globe in Houston," 14 Dec. 2020 Those at elevated risk: This is where each state may have vastly different plans, as needs vary by region. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "How Do I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine? Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Shot," 14 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vary.' 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 vary

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for vary

Middle English varien, borrowed from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French varier, borrowed from Latin variāre "to mark with contrasting colors, give variety to, make changeable," derivative of varius "having contrasting colors, of different kinds, changeable," of uncertain origin

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Time Traveler for vary

Time Traveler

The first known use of vary was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vary

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for vary



English Language Learners Definition of vary

: to be different or to become different
: to make (something) different : to make changes to (something) so that it is not always the same


\ ˈver-ē How to pronounce vary (audio) \
varied; varying

Kids Definition of vary

1 : to make a partial change in He varied the rhythm of the poem.
2 : to make or be of different kinds She varies her exercise routine.
3 : to show or undergo change The sky constantly varies.
4 : to differ from the usual members of a group
\ ˈver-ē, ˈvar-ē How to pronounce vary (audio) \
varied; varying

Medical Definition of vary

: to exhibit divergence in structural or physiological characters from the typical form

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More from Merriam-Webster on vary

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Nglish: Translation of vary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vary for Arabic Speakers

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