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leery1

[leer-ee]
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adjective, leer·i·er, leer·i·est.
  1. wary; suspicious (usually followed by of): I'm leery of his financial advice.
  2. Archaic. knowing; alert.
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Origin of leery1

First recorded in 1790–1800; leer1 + -y1
Related formsleer·i·ly, adverbleer·i·ness, noun
Can be confusedwary weary leery
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for leeriness

leery

leary

adjective leerier, leeriest, learier or leariest
  1. mainly dialect knowing or sly
  2. slang (foll by of) suspicious or wary
  3. slang rowdy or boisterous
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Derived Formsleeriness or leariness, noun

Word Origin

C18: perhaps from obsolete sense (to look askance) of leer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for leeriness

leery

adj.

"untrusting, suspicious, alert," 1718, originally slang, with -y (2), and perhaps from dialectal lere "learning, knowledge" (see lore), or from leer (v.) in some now-obscure sense. OED suggests connection with archaic leer (adj.) "empty, useless," a general Germanic word (cf. German leer, Dutch laar), of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper