\ 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 Campaigns going online — and working from home: With voters wary of answering the door and accepting pamphlets from canvassers, many congressional campaigns are shifting their resources to online campaigns. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus reshaping political campaigns into work from home affairs," 14 Mar. 2020 Trump’s tweet of approval instilled fresh energy in the measure, all but ensuring that wary Republicans would join with a robust vote. Time, "U.S. Travel Ban Extended to United Kingdom and Ireland Over Coronavirus," 14 Mar. 2020 Trump on Tuesday pitched his economic stimulus ideas privately to wary Senate Republicans, but details were slight and the president's GOP allies have been cool to additional spending at this stage. Andrew Taylor, Fortune, "Trump will give a speech tonight on the coronavirus pandemic. How to watch live," 11 Mar. 2020 Economists have raised the likelihood of a recession, warning that American consumers wary of the virus could pare spending on travel, restaurants, sporting events and other businesses. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Stocks rally after Wall Street's worst day in 12 years," 10 Mar. 2020 Some see Sanders’ sweeping promises to cancel student debt and provide health care for all potentially energizing young voters but not older ones wary of his democratic socialist ideology. Tim Darnell, ajc, "NEW DETAILS: Joe Biden considers former rivals as running mates," 9 Mar. 2020 Toilet paper has been disappearing from shelves around the world as coronavirus-wary consumers stockpile emergency and household supplies. Fox News, "Amid coronavirus panic, Australian newspaper prints extra pages because of toilet paper shortage," 5 Mar. 2020 Government authorities have been pushing hard to keep unemployment low, wary of the fallout that could happen otherwise. Laura He, CNN, "China's economy could shrink for the first time in decades because of the coronavirus," 4 Mar. 2020 Fans seem both weary and wary of the club after the Offseason of Discontent. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Air of uncertainty hovers over Red Sox camp in Florida," 26 Feb. 2020

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

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for wary

How to pronounce wary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wary

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