adjective, un·war·i·er, un·war·i·est.

not wary; not cautious or watchful, as against danger or misfortune.

Origin of unwary

First recorded in 1570–80; un-1 + wary
Related formsun·war·i·ly, adverbun·war·i·ness, noun

Synonyms for unwary

Antonyms for unwary

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

Examples from the Web for unwary

Contemporary Examples of unwary

Historical Examples of unwary

  • Here, they are brazenly advertised as "afternoon teas" to lure the unwary.

  • Here also the unwary stranger might have fumbled for a spare coin.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • You have deceived the ignorant, betrayed the unwary, lied to the simple, and robbed the poor.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • You are waiting in your lairs, ready to pounce on the unwary hunter.

    The Hunters

    William Morrison

  • I was not long in becoming an efficient in the arts these men practiced on the unwary.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

British Dictionary definitions for unwary



lacking caution or prudence; not vigilant or careful
Derived Formsunwarily, adverbunwariness, noun
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 unwary

1570s, from un- (1) "not" + wary.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper