\ 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 The contests and candidates appearing on voter ballots will vary based on where the voter resides and their political party. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "What Cy-Fair voters can expect heading to the polls Tuesday," 11 July 2020 Prices for the statues vary from 50,000 euros to millions of euros, meaning a few big sales or many smaller ones are needed to make the target. Washington Post, "France’s Rodin Museum sells bronzes to weather virus crisis," 7 July 2020 The total amount to each driver will vary, Massaron said, but at $5 an hour more than their regular pay, during the three months, that works out to about $2,400. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit official to frustrated bus drivers: Sorry, but hazard pay will come a week late," 2 July 2020 How vaccines are distributed within a country will vary. Sarah Lynch Baldwin, CBS News, "How does coronavirus spread? When will a vaccine be available? Your COVID-19 questions, answered," 1 July 2020 The number of people’s samples that can be grouped together depends on which machine is used for the test, and scientists’ opinions vary. Claire Gillespie,, "What Is Pool Testing for COVID-19 and How Is it Different Than Current Coronavirus Testing?," 30 June 2020 When and how school buildings can reopen will vary depending on how widely the coronavirus is spreading locally. Lauran Neergaard, Anchorage Daily News, "Fauci: US is ‘going in wrong direction’ in coronavirus outbreak," 30 June 2020 Opinions vary on how the climate will impact those talks. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Facing salary cap uncertainty, would Cowboys QB Dak Prescott be wise to get his money now?," 19 June 2020 For example, the website adds positives and negatives to arrive at state testing totals, and protocols vary by state. oregonlive, "Oregon ranks second-to-last in coronavirus testing per capita. But ...," 5 June 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

24 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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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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