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adjective, un·war·i·er, un·war·i·est.
  1. not wary; not cautious or watchful, as against danger or misfortune.
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Origin of unwary

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

Synonyms for unwary

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Antonyms for unwary

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

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


  1. lacking caution or prudence; not vigilant or careful
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper