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Leery—Definition and Examples

Updated on August 24, 2017Grammar
  • Leery means suspicious or wary.
  • Though leery sounds like dreary, the spelling is different. Remember, there are two E’s and no A’s.

What does leery mean and how do you pronounce it? How do you use it in a sentence? What’s the difference between leery and its synonyms? Let’s explore the answers to these questions.

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Leery definition

Leery means wary or suspicious. The preposition of often follows it. If you feel untrusting or suspicious of a situation, you can use leery to describe how you feel. Here are some examples of leery in sentences.

I am leery of cats because they always seem ready to pounce.

If she seems a little leery, it’s because she had a bad experience.

But I’m always a little bit leery of people who are sure that they’re right about things that nobody’s ever been able to prove, and never will be able to prove.
Charles M. Schulz, Charles M. Schulz: Conversations

“Can I get you some coffee?” Nathan had seen enough spy movies to be leery of open beverages. He didn’t think the Russian would drug him, but he wasn’t betting his life on it.
Bryan Denson, The Spy's Son

How to pronounce leery

Leery rhymes with dreary. Therefore, the pronunciation of leery is LEER-ee. However, there is no A in leery as there is in dreary.

Leery vs. Wary

What’s the difference between leery and wary? Wary is one definition of leery. Wary implies that the thing you’re wary of might be dangerous or troublesome. Most people use the terms interchangeably. What do you think? Could leery and wary be substituted for each other in the following quotes?

People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us. . . . It’s people who claim that they’re good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.
Gregory Maguire, Wicked

Be leery of silence. It doesn’t mean you won the argument. Often, people are just busy reloading their guns.
Shannon L. Alder

What does leery mean and how do you pronounce it? How do you use it in a sentence? What’s the difference between leery and its synonyms? You have the answers to these questions. Now you can use leery with confidence.

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