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

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 experiences may be anomalies but Solis says consumers are becoming wary. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook has 'no plans' to listen in on your conversations (for now), but the creepy stories mount," 23 June 2018 Many legislators have become wary of approving new taxes, fearing a backlash. Dale Kasler And Adam Ashton, sacbee, "California drinking water tax dies in budget compromise," 8 June 2018 Trade growth is outpacing economic growth in a throwback to the time before the financial crisis, but the International Monetary Fund is growing wary of protectionist threats. Andrew Mayeda, Bloomberg.com, "Turbulent Week for Trump's Trade Tactics Puts the World on Edge," 24 May 2018 The Office of Permits & Safety is wary of novice parade planners, and rightfully so. Doug Maccash, NOLA.com, "BUKU Fest 2019 is scheduled for March 22-23," 1 May 2018 And that’s enough to make health professionals wary. Julia Belluz, Vox, "More pregnant women are using marijuana. We don’t know if that’s safe.," 20 Nov. 2018 More important, Trump’s sanctions make Western oil companies broadly wary to invest in Russia, said Victoria Herrmann, president of the The Arctic Institute, a think tank. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Trump, Putin, and the Race for Arctic Oil," 25 Apr. 2018

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

15 Apr 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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