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See more synonyms for leery on Thesaurus.com
adjective, leer·i·er, leer·i·est.
  1. wary; suspicious (usually followed by of): I'm leery of his financial advice.
  2. Archaic. knowing; alert.
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Origin of leery1

First recorded in 1790–1800; leer1 + -y1
Related formsleer·i·ly, adverbleer·i·ness, noun
Can be confusedwary weary leery


adjective, leer·i·er, leer·i·est.
  1. leer2.
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Origin of leery2

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for leery



adjective leerier, leeriest, learier or leariest
  1. mainly dialect knowing or sly
  2. slang (foll by of) suspicious or wary
  3. slang rowdy or boisterous
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Derived Formsleeriness or leariness, noun

Word Origin

C18: perhaps from obsolete sense (to look askance) of leer
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 leery


"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper