\ 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 varyingly (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 Such attacks are common and cheap to mount, but vary in size and sophistication., "Authorities told The Guardian that the attack does not appear to be linked to a state actor. But foreign election interference has been an issue in Britain and the US.," 13 Nov. 2019 Such attacks are common and cheap to mount, but vary in size and sophistication. Taylor Telford, Washington Post, "U.K.’s Labour Party hit with 'large-scale’ cyberattack weeks before general election," 12 Nov. 2019 The products vary in price between $5.99 – $6.99 and are available now on PetSmart’s website. Kelli Bender,, "PetSmart's Holiday Guinea Pig Outfits Will Make Your Pet the Star of Any Ugly Sweater Party," 8 Nov. 2019 The level of communication or personal interaction typically varies widely in such adoptions. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Babies and mothers were treated like transactions in Paul Petersen's adoption scheme," 7 Nov. 2019 As Sugarawa varied the laser's intensity over time in the shape of a sine wave, fluctuating at about 1,000 times a second, Fu picked up a distinct high-pitched tone. Wired, "Hackers Can Use Lasers to ‘Speak’ to Your Amazon Echo or Google Home," 4 Nov. 2019 The steps originate from a domed temple and vary in height so the cascading water makes a different sound at each interval. New York Times, "The Parks That Made the Man Who Made Central Park," 30 Oct. 2019 Travel times off the island have been reported to vary widely and unpredictably in the afternoon and early evening hours. oregonlive, "Portland metro Tuesday traffic: Downed trees block streets in southwest neighborhoods," 29 Oct. 2019 As a consequence, Wear OS devices have largely had a hodgepodge of features compared to its competitors and widely vary in price. Amrita Khalid, Quartz, "What Google eyeing Fitbit says about where wearables are heading," 29 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for vary

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for vary

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

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More Definitions for vary


How to pronounce vary (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vary

Spanish Central: Translation of vary

Nglish: Translation of vary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vary for Arabic Speakers

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