[ vair-ee ]
See synonyms for: varyvariedvariesvarying on

verb (used with object),var·ied, var·y·ing.
  1. to change or alter, as in form, appearance, character, or substance: to vary one's methods.

  2. to cause to be different from something else: The orchestra varied last night's program with one new selection.

  1. to avoid or relieve from uniformity or monotony; diversify: to vary one's diet.

  2. Music. to alter (a melody or theme) by modification or embellishments without changing its identity.

verb (used without object),var·ied, var·y·ing.
  1. to show diversity; be different: The age at which children are ready to read varies.

  2. to undergo change in appearance, form, substance, character, etc.: The landscape begins to vary as one drives south.

  1. to change periodically or in succession; differ or alternate: Demand for certain products varies with the season.

  2. to diverge; depart; deviate (usually followed by from): to vary from the norm.

  3. Mathematics. to be subject to change.

  4. Biology. to exhibit variation.

Origin of vary

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English varien, from Latin variāre, equivalent to vari(us) (see various) + -āre infinitive suffix

Other words for vary

Other words from vary

  • var·i·er, noun
  • var·y·ing·ly, adverb
  • in·ter·var·y, verb (used without object), in·ter·var·ied, in·ter·var·y·ing.
  • o·ver·var·y, verb, o·ver·var·ied, o·ver·var·y·ing.
  • self-var·y·ing, adjective
  • un·var·y·ing, adjective
  • un·var·y·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use vary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vary


/ (ˈvɛərɪ) /

verbvaries, varying or varied
  1. to undergo or cause to undergo change, alteration, or modification in appearance, character, form, attribute, etc

  2. to be different or cause to be different; be subject to change

  1. (tr) to give variety to

  2. (intr foll by from) to differ, as from a convention, standard, etc

  3. (intr) to change in accordance with another variable: her mood varies with the weather; pressure varies directly with temperature and inversely with volume

  4. (tr) music to modify (a theme) by the use of variation

Origin of vary

C14: from Latin variāre, from varius various

Derived forms of vary

  • varying, adjective
  • varyingly, adverb

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