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[wair-ee] /ˈwɛər i/
adjective, warier, wariest.
watchful; being on one's guard against danger.
arising from or characterized by caution:
to give someone a wary look.
Origin of wary
First recorded in 1545-55; ware2 + -y1
Related forms
warily, adverb
wariness, noun
overwary, adjective
Can be confused
wary, weary, leery.
1. alert, vigilant, guarded, circumspect, prudent.
Synonym Study
1. See careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for warier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He prided himself on keeping his word; for that reason he was warier of using it.

  • Such fellows worm themselves into the confidence of warier persons than this amiable old physician.

    One of My Sons Anna Katharine Green
  • He's changed his voice; he's warier than I guessed.Well, now, till all's revealed I'll never rest.

  • A few small fish may be seen basking near the surface of the water, but the bigger and warier carp do not often show themselves.

    The Story of Seville Walter M. Gallichan
  • Had but my brother's foresight kenn'd as much, He had been warier that the greedy want Of Catalonia might not work his bale.

  • Observers are agreed that Pseudacraea is both a warier insect and a stronger flyer than the various Planemas which it resembles.

    Mimicry in Butterflies Reginald Crundall Punnett
British Dictionary definitions for warier


adjective warier, wariest
watchful, cautious, or alert
characterized by caution or watchfulness
Derived Forms
warily, adverb
wariness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from ware² + -y1
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 warier



1550s, from Old English wær "prudent, aware, alert, wary," from Proto-Germanic *waraz (cf. Old Norse varr "attentive," Gothic wars "cautious," Old Saxon giwar, Middle Dutch gheware, Old High German giwar, German gewahr "aware"), from PIE root *wer- "to cover" (see weir). Related: Warily; wariness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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