\ 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 The falling price tag on Uber, Slack, Guardant and WeWork all show us to be wary of SoftBank’s ability to correctly value a company. Tim Culpan | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Masa Son Desperately Needs That Second $100 Billion," 6 Nov. 2019 Still, the Tories are wary of Farage and his committed troops. BostonGlobe.com, "Farage flung the ultimatum at Johnson at the Brexit Party campaign launch on Friday, just a few blocks away from the House of Commons, which the chairman of the Brexit Party, real estate tycoon Richard Tice, disparaged as this ‘‘stinking, rotten borough of Westminster.’’," 2 Nov. 2019 The agency also warns all consumers, and especially employees, to be wary of email attachments in messages and always create strong, unique passwords on all systems and accounts. Doreen Christensen, sun-sentinel.com, "E-skimming is a new online shopping danger, FBI warns," 1 Nov. 2019 But investors should be wary of the stock market's recent rally, because individual companies' fundamentals no longer justify their current prices, DiMartino Booth said. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Why the Fed might change its rate-cut strategy after October," 30 Oct. 2019 Foreign observers should be wary of this sort of historical distortion as well. Harper's magazine, "Letters," 28 Oct. 2019 Immigration would be the quickest way of easing the problem; but the nativist governments that run the V4 countries are wary of that. The Economist, "Can the good run of central Europe’s economies last?," 24 Oct. 2019 But my family came from nearly nothing and, to put it diplomatically, is wary of those who come from elite backgrounds and who speak like it. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Boyfriend’s background may rub parents the wrong way," 23 Oct. 2019 Joc Wilson, who works with youths at the Boys & Girls Club, said many of his Sunnydale neighbors are wary of the changes. J.k. Dineen, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s public housing was crumbling. Is a multibillion-dollar plan for ‘drastic change’ the answer?," 20 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for wary

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for wary

The first known use of wary was in the 15th century

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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

What made you want to look up wary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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