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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Hay, wary man-about-town as he was, noted the flush, and guessed its cause.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • She will be wary and learn first what his intentions really are.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • Like equally-matched veterans they advanced with grim purpose and wary deliberation.

    The Eagle Cliff R.M. Ballantyne
  • Why were you so wary about what you must have known was of importance?

  • They were basking, no doubt; but, for birds so wary, why did they not spring up and take to flight?

    The Young Yagers Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for wary


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 wary

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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