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

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Other Words from wary

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

Environmentalists had been wary of Biden, the former vice president who up until now had been relatively quiet on the topic of climate change. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Biden pledges U.S. net zero emissions by 2050," 4 June 2019 Those of us with sensitive skin already know to be wary of trendy ingredients. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What Can Centella Asiatica Really Do for Red, Dry, Sensitive Skin?," 31 May 2019 Then Qualcomm might force Apple to buy fewer Intel chips, endangering Intel's wireless chip business—especially since other potential customers would be wary of leaping in front of Qualcomm's patent buzzsaw. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How Qualcomm shook down the cell phone industry for almost 20 years," 30 May 2019 Visit Fox13 for a list of advice and tips from Airbnb—including what sites and emails to be wary of—in order to stay protected. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This Fake Booking Scam Targets Airbnb Accounts and Could Cost You Thousands of Dollars," 23 May 2019 Ugandan authorities have long been wary of the potential of protests to sweep the regime out of power, and broadcasters who present live coverage are caught in the crosshairs. Rodney Muhumuza, The Seattle Times, "As Uganda targets a pop star rival, media under pressure," 18 May 2019 Attacks have led to a traumatized population that can be wary of outsiders. Cara Anna, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Why 2nd-worst Ebola outbreak is growing concern," 13 Apr. 2019 Be wary of anyone who pushes you to lie to or hide things from your partner. Terri Huggins Hart, Good Housekeeping, "10 Brilliant Couples Therapy Hacks That Will Help Strengthen Any Relationship," 5 Apr. 2019 His favorable numbers are especially noteworthy in a region that has long been wary of American intrusion. ... Santiago Pérez, WSJ, "Trump, Unpopular Elsewhere, Has Lots of Fans in Venezuela," 6 Mar. 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near wary

Warwickshire

warwolf

warworn

wary

war zone

was

wasabi

Statistics for wary

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wary

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wary

Spanish Central: Translation of wary

Nglish: Translation of wary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wary

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