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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
  • beware of alcohol or other factors that may encourage confessional impulses.
  • beware of boasts by makers of the latest exercise machines.
  • beware of the latest line in less lethal weapons: a scooter equipped with an air gun.
  • Hikers must beware of sudden thunderstorms that can catch them on exposed ridges at any time of year.
  • There will always be those that aren't, but then as with everything: let the buyer beware.
  • And stick to the woods, keep clear of the road and beware of your headlamp.
  • beware of situations in which you are asked to take on all of the less-desirable tasks.
  • beware of rainstorms upstream, since they may cause flash flooding.
  • beware actors for the few trying to sabotage the new system.
  • beware of cheap eateries that sport big color photos of pizza and piles of different pastas.
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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