See more synonyms for vary 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.
  3. to avoid or relieve from uniformity or monotony; diversify: to vary one's diet.
  4. 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.
  3. to change periodically or in succession; differ or alternate: Demand for certain products varies with the season.
  4. to diverge; depart; deviate (usually followed by from): to vary from the norm.
  5. Mathematics. to be subject to change.
  6. Biology. to exhibit variation.

Origin of vary

1300–50; Middle English varien < Latin variāre, equivalent to vari(us) (see various) + -āre infinitive suffix
Related formsvar·i·er, nounvar·y·ing·ly, adverbin·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, adjectiveun·var·y·ing, adjectiveun·var·y·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for vary

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for varying

Contemporary Examples of varying

Historical Examples of varying

  • She was back again in an instant, however, in another of her varying moods.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • There are all the varying fortunes of butter-making recorded.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Her yard is a varying pageant of plants in all stages of misfortune.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Thousands upon thousands do it, according to their varying manner, every day.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • She cut four of varying lengths and dropped them into an empty cracker-box.

    Four Girls and a Compact

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

British Dictionary definitions for varying


verb varies, 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
  3. (tr) to give variety to
  4. (intr foll by from) to differ, as from a convention, standard, etc
  5. (intr) to change in accordance with another variableher mood varies with the weather; pressure varies directly with temperature and inversely with volume
  6. (tr) music to modify (a theme) by the use of variation
Derived Formsvarying, adjectivevaryingly, adverb

Word Origin for vary

C14: from Latin variāre, from varius various
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 varying



mid-14c. (transitive); late 14c. (intransitive), from Old French varier, from Latin variare "change, alter, make different," from varius "varied, different, spotted;" perhaps related to varus "bent, crooked, knock-kneed," and varix "varicose vein," from a PIE root *wer- (1) "high raised spot or other bodily infirmity" (cf. Old English wearte "wart," Swedish varbulde "pus swelling," Latin verruca "wart"). Related: Varied; varying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

varying in Medicine


  1. To make or cause changes in the characteristics or attributes of; modify or alter.
  2. To undergo or show change.
  3. To be different; deviate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.