wary

adjective
\ ˈwer-ē How to pronounce wary (audio) \
warier; wariest

Definition of wary

: marked by keen caution, cunning, and watchfulness especially in detecting and escaping danger

Other Words from wary

warily \ ˈwer-​ə-​lē How to pronounce wary (audio) \ adverb
wariness \ ˈwer-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce wary (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for wary

cautious, circumspect, wary, chary mean prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk. cautious implies the exercise of forethought usually prompted by fear of danger. a cautious driver circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding. circumspect in his business dealings wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it. keeps a wary eye on the competition chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely. chary of signing papers without having read them first

Examples of wary in a Sentence

Great critics are sometimes wary of great authors. Eliot and Pound usually sidled past Shakespeare. — William Logan, New York Times Book Review, 11 Feb. 2001 Though sycamore wood was much used, pioneers were wary of the tree's fuzzy leaves, which they believed brought allergies and even consumption. — Arthur Plotnik, The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town, 2000 Modern literary novelists … wary of neat solutions and happy endings, have tended to invest their mysteries with an aura of ambiguity and to leave them unresolved. — David Lodge, The Art of Fiction, 1992 The store owner kept a wary eye on him. Investors are increasingly wary about putting money into stocks.
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Recent Examples on the Web Data from a clinical trial with more than 3,000 participants have yet to be published, which leaves experts wary. NBC News, 7 Jan. 2022 The past two years have left many wary of making predictions or plans. Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2022 Incumbent Democrat Tony Evers eked out a narrow victory in the blue wave of 2018, but faces strong headwinds with President Biden's approval in the low 40s and a voting public deeply wary of COVID-19 and its attendant disruptions to daily life. David Faris, The Week, 1 Jan. 2022 Chamberlain is peace-minded but wary of new ideas, determined to see his own stubborn strategy though. Guy Lodge, Variety, 30 Dec. 2021 However, 34% of the CEOs remained wary of the omicron variant of covid-19, according to a poll by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 28 Dec. 2021 For years, Moore had been curious and wary about the idea of applying her technique to criminal cases. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 People were equally wary of the administration’s move to revoke California’s EPA waiver. David Undercoffler, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 But the effort comes as the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 is making consumers wary again of traveling. Ann-marie Alcántara, WSJ, 15 Dec. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wary.' 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 wary

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wary

ware entry 1 + -y entry 1

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Time Traveler for wary

Time Traveler

The first known use of wary was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near wary

warworn

wary

war zone

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Statistics for wary

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for wary

wary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of wary

: not having or showing complete trust in someone or something that could be dangerous or cause trouble

wary

adjective
\ ˈwer-ē How to pronounce wary (audio) \
warier; wariest

Kids Definition of wary

: very cautious The baker's worries about ogres and bandits I thought exaggerated … However, I was wary of strangers.— Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted

Other Words from wary

warily \ ˈwer-​ə-​lē-​ \ adverb
wariness \ ˈwer-​ē-​nəs \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on wary

Nglish: Translation of wary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wary for Arabic Speakers

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