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 Younger consumers in particular are wary of spending too much on the site. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Report: Amazon will pass Walmart in U.S. retail sales in 2025," 27 Apr. 2021 Some officials are wary of a Biden-Putin summit, particularly in Ukraine. Natasha Bertrand, CNN, "White House hammering out details of increasingly likely Biden and Putin summit," 26 Apr. 2021 Outdoor sports are generally low-risk, especially if kids are wearing masks, but be wary of off-the-field socializing like carpooling or post-game victory meals. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: The perils of public health service," 26 Apr. 2021 But there's also to be wary of first-round opponent Siena, particularly since ASU failed to score in its final three regular season games. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, "ASU soccer looks to revive offense in NCAA Tournament opener vs. Siena," 26 Apr. 2021 Some governments are wary of reopening too early, especially for travelers from other continents, at a time when aggressive new variants of the coronavirus are continuing to emerge. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Europe Aims to Let American Travelers In While Keeping Covid-19 at Bay," 26 Apr. 2021 In a world in which many people are wary of seafood, the fish stick spread even behind the Iron Curtain of the Cold War. Ute Eberle, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Surprising Success Story of Fish Sticks," 26 Apr. 2021 But as everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry to Brazilian legislators, governors, and civil society groups point out, there are several reasons to be wary of negotiating with Bolsonaro. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "Bolsonaro Doesn’t Want to Save the Amazon. He Just Wants to Extort the Countries That Do.," 23 Apr. 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government ordered an extensive lockdown last year, in the early stages of the pandemic, but has been wary of the economic costs of more tough restrictions. NBC News, "India sets world record for new Covid cases with 314k infections," 22 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 8 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

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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

Comments on wary

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