follow Dictionary.com

Denotation vs. Connotation

wary

[wair-ee] /ˈwɛər i/
adjective, warier, wariest.
1.
watchful; being on one's guard against danger.
2.
arising from or characterized by caution:
to give someone a wary look.
Origin of wary
1545-1555
1545-55; ware2 + -y1
Related forms
warily, adverb
wariness, noun
overwary, adjective
Can be confused
wary, weary, leery.
Synonyms
1. alert, vigilant, guarded, circumspect, prudent. See careful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for wary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Hay, wary man-about-town as he was, noted the flush, and guessed its cause.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • But when they reached Rhegium, the wary Spartan was already beyond their reach.

  • Like equally-matched veterans they advanced with grim purpose and wary deliberation.

    The Eagle Cliff R.M. Ballantyne
  • The wary and skillful Johnston had another army, and he could not be far away.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • They were basking, no doubt; but, for birds so wary, why did they not spring up and take to flight?

    The Young Yagers Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for wary

wary

/ˈwɛərɪ/
adjective warier, wariest
1.
watchful, cautious, or alert
2.
characterized by caution or watchfulness
Derived Forms
warily, adverb
wariness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from ware² + -y1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wary
adj.

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for wary

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for wary

10
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for wary