\ 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 But Schroder said the quick response to concerns about the J&J vaccine could help convince Americans who are wary of vaccinations that safety is a top priority. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, "COVID-19 vaccines: Health officials say Johnson & Johnson setback won't derail campaign," 14 Apr. 2021 Ballard is wary of weakening one position to fill another despite the importance placed on the left tackle as the protector of the quarterback’s blind side. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Will Braden Smith be the Indianapolis Colts’ answer at left tackle?," 13 Apr. 2021 Here's how to talk to friends and family who may be wary of them. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As Muslims mark second Ramadan of pandemic, local leaders emphasize service to community," 13 Apr. 2021 Beyond that, Americans prize their personal freedoms and are wary of governmental actions that curtail them. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, "Q&A: What are vaccine passports, and why do some people hate them so much?," 13 Apr. 2021 Brook Baker, a law professor at Northeastern University and senior policy analyst for Health GAP, says Gates has always been wary of the Unitaid pool as going too far in the direction of infringing on intellectual property. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "How Bill Gates Impeded Global Access to Covid Vaccines," 12 Apr. 2021 Companies mandating full time office work should be wary of employee turnover and higher rates of disengagement. Ashira Prossack, Forbes, "4 Changes To Expect In The Post-Covid Workplace," 12 Apr. 2021 Drawing parallels to the initial resistance to the internet, Shetty adds that the lack of information is the prime reason why some people are wary of cryptocurrencies. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz, "A techie who once mistrusted the internet is now building one of India’s largest crypto exchanges," 11 Apr. 2021 And Manchin is not alone — as many as 10 Democratic senators have been wary of changing the filibuster practice. Lisa Mascaro, ajc, "Senate filibuster's racist past fuels arguments for its end," 10 Apr. 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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for wary



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

Nglish: Translation of wary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wary for Arabic Speakers

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