\ˈver-ē \
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 \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for vary


contrast, differ


compare, match

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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

To resume the offensive and win the war, the combatants tried to develop new tactics, with varying degrees of success. Geoffrey Wawro, WSJ, "The Reinvention of Warfare," 8 Nov. 2018 Well, there’s a lot of companies that do it, to varying degrees. Eric Johnson, Recode, "American capitalism broke in the 1980s. Can it be fixed?," 7 Nov. 2018 Marijuana is already legal for recreational use in nine states Based on the Marijuana Policy Project’s count, 30 states have already legalized medical marijuana, and nine have legalized cannabis for recreational uses (to varying degrees). German Lopez, Vox, "The midterm elections will give some voters a chance to legalize marijuana," 6 Nov. 2018 Despite the science behind it, many Republicans dismiss climate change, to varying degrees. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Sean Astin Is Supporting 2018 Midterm Candidates Like Renee Hoagenson Because They Care About the Environment," 2 Nov. 2018 Courses also range in elevation—with some as high as 11,000 feet above sea level—and varying degrees of steepness, including some trails that chart straight up ski mountains. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "What Is Snowshoe Racing? A Look Inside the Niche and Challenging Winter Sport," 17 Oct. 2018 Arizona has become a popular site for the testing of autonomous vehicles, with varying degrees of success. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Self-driving cars start delivering groceries in Arizona," 17 Aug. 2018 The order of toasts varies depending on the region and occasion, but most banquets start with a Genatst! to the tamadan and his family, in order of seniority. Benjamin Kemper, Smithsonian, "Raising a Glass to Armenia’s Elaborate Toasting Tradition," 13 July 2018 Views of his company's online content vary significantly depending on the guest. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Tech TV startup HXTV to tell Houston's innovation story," 10 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near vary





varying hare

varying lemming


Statistics for vary

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vary

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

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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 \
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 \
varied; varying

Medical Definition of vary 

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

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Comments on vary

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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