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[uhn-wair-ee] /ʌnˈwɛər i/
adjective, unwarier, unwariest.
not wary; not cautious or watchful, as against danger or misfortune.
Origin of unwary
First recorded in 1570-80; un-1 + wary
Related forms
unwarily, adverb
unwariness, noun
incautious, indiscreet, rash, heedless.
careful, cautious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unwary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here, they are brazenly advertised as "afternoon teas" to lure the unwary.

  • Here also the unwary stranger might have fumbled for a spare coin.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • You have deceived the ignorant, betrayed the unwary, lied to the simple, and robbed the poor.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • You are waiting in your lairs, ready to pounce on the unwary hunter.

    The Hunters William Morrison
  • I was not long in becoming an efficient in the arts these men practiced on the unwary.

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
  • The spider uses its silk to build cunning traps for unwary flies.

  • They are the ones chiefly dangerous to the unwary pursuit pilot.

    High Adventure James Norman Hall
British Dictionary definitions for unwary


lacking caution or prudence; not vigilant or careful
Derived Forms
unwarily, adverb
unwariness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for unwary

1570s, from un- (1) "not" + wary.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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