\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web To be eligible for the program, residents must have a household income that is at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level guidelines, or at or just below 65 percent of the area median income — which can vary by neighborhood. Alexa Gagosz,, 4 Aug. 2022 The hot car deaths of children vary by circumstance. Fox News, 4 Aug. 2022 In fact, costs vary widely by type of service and location but typically average more than that. Deb Gordon, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 According to Emlen, the body size of male elks doesn’t tend to vary by more than a factor of about two—but the width of their antlers may span a range of 30-fold or more. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 2 Aug. 2022 Laws vary by state but often are not specific about how teachers must carry or store guns. New York Times, 31 July 2022 Rules vary by state but retailers usually get a reward for selling a ticket that wins a jackpot. Scott Mcfetridge, ajc, 27 July 2022 Rules vary by state but retailers usually get a reward for selling a ticket that wins a jackpot. Scott Mcfetridge, Chicago Tribune, 27 July 2022 The stimulus efforts vary by state, but include one-time payments, tax refunds, tax credits, and suspending gas taxes. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 27 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near vary



varying hare

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for vary


\ 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


intransitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on vary

Nglish: Translation of vary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vary for Arabic Speakers


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