- to change or alter, as in form, appearance, character, or substance: to vary one's methods.
- to cause to be different from something else: The orchestra varied last night's program with one new selection.
- to avoid or relieve from uniformity or monotony; diversify: to vary one's diet.
- Music. to alter (a melody or theme) by modification or embellishments without changing its identity.
- to show diversity; be different: The age at which children are ready to read varies.
- to undergo change in appearance, form, substance, character, etc.: The landscape begins to vary as one drives south.
- to change periodically or in succession; differ or alternate: Demand for certain products varies with the season.
- to diverge; depart; deviate (usually followed by from): to vary from the norm.
- Mathematics. to be subject to change.
- Biology. to exhibit variation.
Origin of vary
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for vary
Near-Death Experiences tend to vary in narrative complexity.Eben Alexander Has a GPS for Heaven
October 8, 2014
Like the weather, the climate for solar electricity can vary.It’s Always Sunny In England
The Daily Beast
September 17, 2014
The quality and accuracy of information on these sites can vary widely, as can the virtual support that some of them provide.Should Pro-Anorexia Sites Be Criminalized?
August 30, 2014
Within these forms, the severity of depression can vary over time.Robin Williams’ Deadly Depression
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad
August 12, 2014
Federal judges might all have one vote, but their influence can vary widely.Obama’s Shocking Success on Judgeships Overturns Conventional Wisdom
June 9, 2014
The nature of these ties must vary with the different problems of different areas.
He was something to vary the monotony of the great solemn silence of our world.The Long Labrador Trail
They vary in form, color, and disposition, and also in the quality of their hair.Concerning Cats
Helen M. Winslow
These are very novel, beautiful to look at, and the flavors may vary to taste.Culture and Cooking
He might vary in the expression of his belief, but the belief itself was as immovable as the mountains.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
- to undergo or cause to undergo change, alteration, or modification in appearance, character, form, attribute, etc
- to be different or cause to be different; be subject to change
- (tr) to give variety to
- (intr foll by from) to differ, as from a convention, standard, etc
- (intr) to change in accordance with another variableher mood varies with the weather; pressure varies directly with temperature and inversely with volume
- (tr) music to modify (a theme) by the use of variation
Word Origin and History for vary
mid-14c. (transitive); late 14c. (intransitive), from Old French varier, from Latin variare "change, alter, make different," from varius "varied, different, spotted;" perhaps related to varus "bent, crooked, knock-kneed," and varix "varicose vein," from a PIE root *wer- (1) "high raised spot or other bodily infirmity" (cf. Old English wearte "wart," Swedish varbulde "pus swelling," Latin verruca "wart"). Related: Varied; varying.
- To make or cause changes in the characteristics or attributes of; modify or alter.
- To undergo or show change.
- To be different; deviate.