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 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 Now, nursing home leaders who witnessed the explosion of COVID infections and deaths a year ago are wary that their own nurses, aides, and other employees could risk the health of their residents. BostonGlobe.com, "COVID-19 risks reemerge at nursing homes as workers decline vaccine and new residents struggle to get shots," 8 May 2021 And wary of provoking the Kremlin, NATO hasn’t extended to Kiev an invitation to join the alliance. David Axe, Forbes, "Russian Troops Mass Near Ukraine, So The U.S. Military Lands An Army Brigade In Albania," 6 May 2021 Companies have struggled with how to respond to changes to voting laws across the country, mindful that many of their employees and customers oppose the laws but also wary of getting drawn into political battles. Elizabeth Findell, WSJ, "Texas Lawmakers to Vote on Election Bill as Florida Governor Signs Its Own Into Law," 6 May 2021 The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 local churches, is part of a new coalition that will host events, work with media outlets and distribute various public messages to build trust among wary evangelicals. Dallas News, "First Baptist Dallas will offer COVID-19 vaccines amid resistance from evangelical Christians," 5 May 2021 The euro-area economy slid into a double-dip recession at the start of the year as strict coronavirus lockdowns across the region kept many businesses shuttered and consumers wary to spend. Alessandra Migliaccio, Fortune, "Europe back in recession as eurozone economy pays the price for a botched vaccination rollout," 30 Apr. 2021 But should the reopening proceed, its success will still depend on the willingness of wary residents and workers to return to crowded spaces. New York Times, "The Mayor Promises a Summer to Remember in New York. Can He Deliver?," 29 Apr. 2021 The mobilization of community outreach groups to educate and persuade wary residents has been key to boosting vaccine rates, say some experts. Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times, "Appointments for first dose of COVID-19 vaccine drop by half in L.A. County, alarming public health officials," 29 Apr. 2021 Employees, still wary of safety concerns and seeking better-paying work, are reluctant to return to the industry. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Burning Man, motel vaccinations, eviction law help: News from around our 50 states," 28 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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

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

Comments on wary

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