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[bih-wair] /bɪˈwɛər/
verb (used with object)
to be wary, cautious, or careful of (usually used imperatively):
Beware such inconsistency. Beware his waspish wit.
verb (used without object)
to be cautious or careful:
Beware of the dog.
Origin of beware
1150-1200; Middle English, from phrase of warning be ware. See be, ware2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for beware
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No; I prefer the rain and the thunder to the whispers that steal to my ear in the dark from one of whom I have reason to beware.

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • But women must beware of sham emotion and lachrymose sentimentality.

    The Truth About Woman C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • But beware of supposing that we can take for our guide our desire of happiness, and ourselves calculate its conditions.

    The Heavenly Father Ernest Naville
  • beware of forming wrong conceptions of what must take place.

  • "beware of ambition, M. Olivier," said Ernestine, smiling in her turn.

    Pride Eugne Sue
British Dictionary definitions for beware


(usually used in the imperative or infinitive) often foll by of. to be cautious or wary (of); be on one's guard (against)
Word Origin
C13 be war, from be (imperative) + warwary
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
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Word Origin and History for beware

c.1200, probably from a conflation of be ware (though the compound bewarian "defend" existed in Old English). See wary.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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