Definition of leery in English:



  • Cautious or wary due to realistic suspicions.

    ‘a city leery of gang violence’
    • ‘On the downside Craig is famously leery of publicity.’
    • ‘He's also leery of reserve land being developed in such a way.’
    • ‘I am leery of superlatives but am not inclined to argue with that.’
    • ‘They're a little leery of actually trying to amend the Constitution.’
    • ‘He is a hard worker but many of his coworkers are leery of him.’
    • ‘Before the practice took hold, some news directors, fearing pranks, were leery of airing amateur video.’
    • ‘Businesses were a little leery, understandably, about investing and adding jobs.’
    • ‘It's therefore reasonable for me to be leery of liberals in general.’
    • ‘Fazal Majid also has another good point, one that so far has kept me leery of purchasing music online.’
    • ‘The market turmoil and lack of good financial knowledge has made them leery of equities.’
    • ‘I often feel this way when a book is turned into a movie - leery of having the images in my mind mixed with those on a big screen.’
    • ‘But the candidate was set in his ways, and his people were leery of tampering with his approach so late in the game.’
    • ‘Range managers in Utah are now leery about gardening wild mountains.’
    • ‘Personally, I find the Independent so poor these days, that I'd very leery of accepting any conclusions from an article therein.’
    • ‘I've become leery of such statements, because I've heard them so many times.’
    • ‘This surprises me for I've always thought of him as an exacting craftsman and, therefore, leery of artistic pretensions.’
    • ‘And, as we mentioned in the article you read, be leery of any company that asks for money up-front.’
    • ‘All of this anecdotal evidence has made me leery of the concept.’
    • ‘I was a little bit wary or a little bit leery because he had to pick the gun up and put it in the bag, so of course I was watching what he was doing.’
    • ‘We were a little leery about renting a car, having never driven on Bulgarian highways, but our fears were misplaced.’
    cautious, careful, circumspect, on one's guard, chary, alert, on the alert, on the lookout, on the qui vive, prudent
    wary, cautious, careful, guarded, chary, suspicious, distrustful, mistrusting, dubious, sceptical
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Late 17th century: from obsolete leer ‘looking askance’, from leer + -y.