\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

Mrs May hopes instead to secure open trade with the EU through some system of mutual recognition, while keeping the right to vary rules to suit trade with third countries. The Economist, "Britain’s new Brexit plan is savaged—by its own Brexit secretary," 9 July 2018 If choosing on-demand delivery, customers pay a $5.99 delivery fee on top of the price of the crowler, which can vary depending on the beer. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Craft beer market in northwest Harris County gets a boost from delivery service," 6 July 2018 The end product is a clean set of opinion estimates that vary smoothly over country and across time. Christopher Claassen, Washington Post, "Support for democracy is declining — but not in the U.S. or other Western democracies," 5 July 2018 The dwarf planet’s orbit is even flatter than Mars’s orbit, causing the sunlight to vary by as much as 64 percent. Shannon Hall, New York Times, "Never Mind the Summer Heat: Earth Is at Its Greatest Distance From the Sun," 5 July 2018 The pairings were carefully composed to present the men with a choice between products that varied on three dimensions: status, power and quality. Melissa Healy,, "An extra dose of testosterone increases men's preference for high-status luxury goods, study says," 4 July 2018 In the shifting landscape, recycling advocates, operators and municipal officials say consumers need to become better educated about what to recycle, which can vary from town to town. Author: David Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Cities scramble to rewrite rules on recycling after China restricts ‘foreign garbage’," 3 July 2018 The tool doesn’t estimate total deliveries, which can vary based on the number of cars in transit at the end of the quarter. Fortune, "Tesla's Mad Scramble to Meet Production Deadline Is Coming to an End," 30 June 2018 If the overuse of games or smartphones are a matter of behavior, then of course that behavior is bound to vary by region, nation, culture, and other social conditions. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’," 28 June 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

19 Oct 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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