leery

1
[leer-ee]

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; leer1 + -y1
Related formsleer·i·ly, adverbleer·i·ness, noun
Can be confusedwary weary leery

leery

2
[leer-ee]

adjective, leer·i·er, leer·i·est.

Origin of leery

2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for leery

leery

leary

adjective leerier, leeriest, learier or leariest

mainly dialect knowing or sly
slang (foll by of) suspicious or wary
slang rowdy or boisterous
Derived Formsleeriness or leariness, noun

Word Origin for leery

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
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