[ chair-ee ]
/ ˈtʃɛər i /

adjective, char·i·er, char·i·est.

cautious or careful; wary: He was chary of investing in oil wells.
shy; timid.
fastidious; choosy: She is excessively chary about her friends.
sparing (often followed by of): chary of his praise.

Nearby words

  1. chartwell,
  2. charvaka,
  3. charver,
  4. charvet,
  5. charwoman,
  6. charybdis,
  7. chas.,
  8. chase,
  9. chase mortise,
  10. chase, mary ellen

Origin of chary

before 1000; Middle English; Old English cearig sorrowful (c(e)ar(u) care + -ig -y1); cognate with Old Saxon karag, Old High German karag (German karg scanty, paltry)

Related formschar·i·ly, adverbun·char·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chary

British Dictionary definitions for chary


/ (ˈtʃɛərɪ) /

adjective charier or chariest

wary; careful
choosy; finicky
sparing; mean

Word Origin for chary

Old English cearig; related to caru care, Old High German charag sorrowful

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

Word Origin and History for chary



Old English cearig "sorrowful" (see care (n.)). Sense evolved 16c. from "full of care" to "careful." Cognate with Old Saxon carag, Old High German charag "sorrow, trouble, care." Related: Charily; chariness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper