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 But DoorDash is wary of turning off consumers in the competitive food-delivery business by shoveling too many ads into its app. Megan Graham, WSJ, 12 Oct. 2021 Respect for individual liberty is a core American value: People have the presumptive right to make choices that affect themselves and their families, and government should be wary of overriding those choices. Hester M. Peirce For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 11 Oct. 2021 When the industry came together last fall on a hard-fought agreement among multiple unions and the major studios on COVID safety protocols for production, some executives were wary of the precedent set by new limits on working hours. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 11 Oct. 2021 But Golden Gate Park Superintendent John McLaren, the architect of the park, was a naturalist who was wary of museums and deplored the idea of statues, let alone vehicles. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Oct. 2021 That said, organizations should be wary of expecting too much magic from AI. Mark Smith, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 When Using Online Dating Sites Be wary of romance scammers and sextortionists. Essence, 8 Oct. 2021 Despite this outpouring of goodwill, any attempt to create a new regulatory body would come up against a 50-50 split Senate, with conservatives likely to be wary of increasing government spending and creating more government agencies. Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2021 Crypto enthusiasts have long been wary of central bankers’ capacity to stoke inflation (with little to show for it, after a more than a decade of muted price increases in the US and Europe). John Detrixhe, Quartz, 4 Oct. 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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Dictionary Entries Near wary

warworn

wary

war zone

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Statistics for wary

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wary. Accessed 25 Oct. 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

Nglish: Translation of wary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wary for Arabic Speakers

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