Word Origin See more synonyms for leery on Thesaurus.com adjective, leer·i·er, leer·i·est. wary; suspicious (usually followed by of): I'm leery of his financial advice. . Archaic knowing; alert. Origin of leery 1
First recorded in
1790–1800; leer 1
-y 1 Related forms leer·i·ly, adverb leer·i·ness, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for leeriness adjective leerier, leeriest, learier or leariest mainly dialect knowing or sly slang ( foll by of) suspicious or wary slang rowdy or boisterous Derived Forms leeriness or leariness, noun Word Origin
C18: perhaps from obsolete sense (to look askance) of
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for leeriness leery adj.
"untrusting, suspicious, alert," 1718, originally slang, with
-y (2), and perhaps from dialectal lere "learning, knowledge" (see lore), or from leer (v.) in some now-obscure sense. OED suggests connection with archaic leer (adj.) "empty, useless," a general Germanic word (cf. German leer, Dutch laar), of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper