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 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 His strong personality and out-front style made administrators wary. Mike Hutton, chicagotribune.com, 27 May 2021 Reports of assault have made many women wary of ride-hailing companies. Shola Lawal, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 May 2021 But that, in turn, made wireless carriers’ executives wary. Stu Woo, WSJ, 26 May 2021 Recent reports of violent crimes, including a shooting in Times Square and random attacks in the subway, could make some people wary about coming to New York. New York Times, 13 May 2021 But the pandemic made many Americans wary of mass transit, prompting strong interest in car-buying. Following auto plant shutdowns triggered by the pandemic’s intertwined health and supply-chain troubles, dealers’ new car inventories were thin. Author: David J. Lynch, Yeganeh Torbati, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2021 But the pandemic made many Americans wary of mass transit, prompting strong interest in car-buying. Following auto plant shutdowns triggered by the pandemic's intertwined health and supply-chain troubles, dealers' new car inventories were thin. BostonGlobe.com, 1 May 2021 But the pandemic made many Americans wary of mass transit, prompting strong interest in car-buying. Following auto plant shutdowns triggered by the pandemic’s intertwined health and supply-chain troubles, dealers’ new car inventories were thin. Washington Post, 1 May 2021 Activists and city officials say the sheriff's office's handling of Brown's death has made Elizabeth City residents even more wary of county officials. Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN, 1 May 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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Statistics for wary

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wary

Nglish: Translation of wary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wary for Arabic Speakers

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