Thesaurus

Synonyms & Antonyms of wary

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About wary

How does the adjective wary contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of wary are cautious, chary, and circumspect. While all these words mean "prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk," wary emphasizes suspiciousness and alertness in watching for danger and cunning in escaping it.

keeps a wary eye on the competition

When would cautious be a good substitute for wary?

The meanings of cautious and wary largely overlap; however, cautious implies the exercise of forethought usually prompted by fear of danger.

a cautious driver

When might chary be a better fit than wary?

While in some cases nearly identical to wary, chary implies a cautious reluctance to give, act, or speak freely.

chary of signing papers without having read them first

In what contexts can circumspect take the place of wary?

In some situations, the words circumspect and wary are roughly equivalent. However, circumspect suggests less fear and stresses the surveying of all possible consequences before acting or deciding.

circumspect in his business dealings

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wary

Time Traveler for wary

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/wary. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wary

Dictionary: Definition 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).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!