Words nearby 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.
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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.
beware of dog, he is absolutely terrifying (thepetcollective) pic.twitter.com/0k22EMPOcy
— Animals Are Everything (@puppieslogic) May 20, 2020
In brightest day, in blackest night,
no evil shall escape my sight,
let those who worship evil's might,
beware my power, Green Lantern's Light.
— Sheikh Saheb (@R3dspik3) May 17, 2020
4/ Caveat emptor, a concept that goes hand-in-hand with Laissez-faire economics, means “buyer beware.”
The idea is that if people are duped, it’s their own fault for not being wiser. https://t.co/mbPu3jCuLX
— Teri Kanefield (@Teri_Kanefield) May 18, 2020
Try using beware!
Which of the following things should you NOT do when told to beware?
A. be on guard
C. watch out
D. take heed
How to use beware in a sentence
As you evaluate the effectiveness of your optimizations, beware of confounding variables.How to perform SEO A/B testing in Google Search Console|Manick Bhan|January 20, 2021|Search Engine Watch
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 thoughtless husks who plunged this NFL season into chaos deserve a public shaming|Sally Jenkins|December 2, 2020|Washington Post
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.
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.Attractive laundry hampers that make your dirty clothes look a little better|PopSci Commerce Team|September 16, 2020|Popular-Science
Your targeting must comply with Google’s advertising on personalization and beware that sensitive keywords will serve only contextually or not at all.Google custom audiences, the combo of custom affinity and custom intent audiences, now live|Ginny Marvin|September 14, 2020|Search Engine Land
But beware of voting based on the fears stoked by politicians for their own political gain -- on both sides.Ebola, ISIS, the Border: So Much to Fear, So Little Time!|Gene Robinson|November 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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.King Robert the Bruce|A. F. Murison
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.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version|Various
Beware of such vulgar interpolations as "You know," "You see," "I'll tell you what."The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness|Florence Hartley