[ wair-ee ]
/ ˈwɛər i /

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

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for wariest

British Dictionary definitions for wariest


/ (ˈwɛərɪ) /

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 wariest



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