adjective, war·i·er, war·i·est.

watchful; being on one's guard against danger.
arising from or characterized by caution: to give someone a wary look.

Origin of wary

First recorded in 1545–55; ware2 + -y1
Related formswar·i·ly, adverbwar·i·ness, nouno·ver·war·y, adjective
Can be confusedwary weary leery

Synonyms for wary

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for warier

Contemporary Examples of warier

Historical Examples of warier

  • He prided himself on keeping his word; for that reason he was warier of using it.

  • Such fellows worm themselves into the confidence of warier persons than this amiable old physician.

    One of My Sons

    Anna Katharine Green

  • He's changed his voice; he's warier than I guessed.Well, now, till all's revealed I'll never rest.

  • A few small fish may be seen basking near the surface of the water, but the bigger and warier carp do not often show themselves.

    The Story of Seville

    Walter M. Gallichan

  • Had but my brother's foresight kenn'd as much, He had been warier that the greedy want Of Catalonia might not work his bale.

British Dictionary definitions for warier


adjective warier or wariest

watchful, cautious, or alert
characterized by caution or watchfulness
Derived Formswarily, adverbwariness, noun

Word Origin for wary

C16: from ware ² + -y 1
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 warier



1550s, from Old English wær "prudent, aware, alert, wary," from Proto-Germanic *waraz (cf. Old Norse varr "attentive," Gothic wars "cautious," Old Saxon giwar, Middle Dutch gheware, Old High German giwar, German gewahr "aware"), from PIE root *wer- "to cover" (see weir). Related: Warily; wariness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper