\ 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.
Recent Examples on the Web In recent weeks, politicians and diplomats from the Baltic states and Poland — countries most wary of Russia’s designs — similarly cautioned against entering into dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin over easing the blockade. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 6 June 2022 The killing rattled a city already wary of the subway system, which has been the grim scene of a string of grisly attacks in recent months. New York Times, 24 May 2022 Tom Bernard, the co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, says the box office for indie movies remains challenged, because older audiences, still wary of COVID, aren’t returning to theaters at the same rate as other demographics. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 23 May 2022 The latest round of assistance would push U.S. support to Ukraine beyond $50 billion, which has raised concerns from some conservative Republicans wary of the price of overseas spending. Lisa Mascaro, BostonGlobe.com, 15 May 2022 Until now, the country wary of another disaster has stayed away from nuclear power part of their energy transition, but recent events might be the first indications that the tide could turn. Aurora Almendral, Quartz, 28 Mar. 2022 But Washington, wary of a wider war with Russia, has not embraced Polish suggestions that an international peacekeeping force be deployed to Ukraine. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2022 Mostly, there is this: Be wary of statements touting economic impact. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 2 June 2022 Now here’s yet another reason to be wary of A.I. in medical imagery—there is no good way to know when this software is making a mistake. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 31 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of wary

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wary

ware entry 2 + -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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war zone

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for wary


\ 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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