View synonyms for beware


[ bih-wair ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to be wary, cautious, or careful of (usually used imperatively):

    Beware such inconsistency. Beware his waspish wit.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be cautious or careful:

    Beware of the dog.


/ bɪˈwɛə /


  1. usually used in the imperative or infinitive,often foll byof to be cautious or wary (of); be on one's guard (against)

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Word History and Origins

Origin of beware1

1150–1200; Middle English, from phrase of warning be ware. See be, ware 2

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Word History and Origins

Origin of beware1

C13 be war , from be (imperative) + war wary

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Example Sentences

As you evaluate the effectiveness of your optimizations, beware of confounding variables.

Speaking of zombie meals, the San Francisco 49ers should beware of eating in Arizona, where they will now be playing because virus hospitalizations at home have tripled in a month.

The sobering reality is that there isn’t a single model of economic organization that will allow us to do so, and we must beware of rhetoric for another grand redesign of capitalism.

From Fortune

Inside the woven exterior is a steel frame for added stability, and the wicker material is environmentally sustainable—just beware if you have a cat who sees all wicker as a potential scratching post.

Your targeting must comply with Google’s advertising on personalization and beware that sensitive keywords will serve only contextually or not at all.

But beware of voting based on the fears stoked by politicians for their own political gain -- on both sides.

And beware the perky morning anchors with their inane questions (Aretha Franklin).

But we should beware of the facile tradition of criticizing colleges, professors, and the young (or just mocking them).

Singh went on to say that Indian women should beware of adopting a western code of feminism.

Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote an article titled, “Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients.”

In successive letters he reiterates the caution to beware of surprise and treason, and his anxiety for constant news.

In considering the first point, power, the amateur will have to beware of a very possible mistake he may fall into.

Beware of ignorance which assumes the mask of knowledge, or of designing roguery which apes the appearance of innocence.

Beware therefore that you imitate not the doings of others, and be afraid, and the fear of them should seize upon you.

Beware of such vulgar interpolations as "You know," "You see," "I'll tell you what."


Related Words

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More About Beware

What does beware mean?

Beware means be careful or cautious—watch out for danger or other bad stuff.

Beware is a command (or at least a suggestion). Sometimes, it’s used by itself, as in Beware! There are dark forces afoot! 

More commonly, it’s immediately followed by the specific thing you should beware of, as in Beware the words of politicians. 

Perhaps most commonly, it’s paired with the word of, such as on a sign that says Beware of cat. (You thought we were going to say Beware of dog, didn’t you? Stay alert, folks. Beware a wily dictionary.)

Example: Before you enter the internet, there should be a sign that says “Beware of trolls.”

Where does beware come from?

The first records of the word beware come from the 1100s. It comes from the warning phrase be ware, meaning “be wary.” Wary means “watchful” or “on guard against danger.” Wary, the ware in beware, and the word aware are all based on the same root, and all involve alertness or watchfulness. The word be is used in the same way in the similarly formed word begone.

Beware doesn’t sound as archaic as begone, but it does sound a little old-fashioned and dramatic (especially when used without of). It can be used as simple advice, as in Beware of ice on your drive home, but a lot of people would probably just say watch out for instead of beware of.

Since beware is typically used as an imperative (a command), when it’s used in more general advice, it can sometimes sound like a proverb. It’s used this way in the famous expression beware of Greeks bearing gifts (meaning “don’t trust enemies who bring you gifts”—a reference to the story of Trojan horse).

The Latin phrase caveat emptor literally translates as “let the buyer beware,” meaning that unless a product has a warranty, it’s basically up to the buyer to make sure the product is OK before buying it.

The most common modern use of beware is probably on signs that say things like Beware of dog. Such a message is intended as a warning that’s also supposed to clear the property owner of any responsibility for what happens if you don’t beware the dog.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for beware?

What are some words that share a root or word element with beware


What are some words that often get used in discussing beware?


How is beware used in real life?

Outside of its use on signs warning about dangerous dogs, beware is usually used to sound a little old-fashioned or dramatic.



Try using beware!

Which of the following things should you NOT do when told to beware?

A. be on guard
B. relax
C. watch out
D. take heed

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bewailBeware of Greeks bearing gifts