wary

Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near wary

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/wary. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on wary

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY