Definition of chary in English:



  • Cautiously or suspiciously reluctant to do something.

    ‘most people are chary of allowing themselves to be photographed’
    • ‘The US can provide the former in plenty but are chary of supplying the latter.’
    • ‘Progress now happens but even so I am chary of believing the guest property (nearest the camera) will be ready for our mid-September holiday.’
    • ‘One reason why some coaches may be chary of long-term visitors is the leaking of secrets, of training schedules and innovative techniques.’
    • ‘A judge should therefore be chary of doing that which is better done by Parliament.’
    • ‘These studies addressed similar issues and reached somewhat similar conclusions (although Pew is chary of offering solutions yet).’
    • ‘It is interesting to note that his subsequent private-sector employers were similarly chary of his new investment proposals.’
    • ‘He is also famously reclusive and chary of talking about his craft.’
    • ‘It is impossible not to love and admire these four women, even when (as in Becky's case) you would be chary of making their acquaintance in real life.’
    • ‘But in general, the British have become less chary of buying overseas.’
    • ‘Identity politics advocates rejection of the market as inherently biased in favour of those with money, but they too are chary of purely political methods, preferring to rely on rights.’
    • ‘It's likely that Docherty's endorsement had the effect of making the change in wording acceptable to Protestants who may have been chary of adopting what seemed a Catholic proposal.’
    • ‘Although upbeat about the response, Ms. Sujatha looked chary of the financial soundness of the association.’
    • ‘George III was thus in many ways the quintessential tabloid monarch: familiar, honest, outspoken - and chary of foreigners.’
    • ‘‘Right after the article appeared, people that I know were very chary of saying anything about it to me,’ he says.’
    • ‘The loss of some teeth made him chary about playing, because of the fear that his high standards would be compromised.’
    • ‘Thereby proving the point that Mrs Hunt should be chary of not putting the work into her protagonist when she could in fact be missing out on the chance of giving voice to the distillation of contemporary gender politics for a generation.’
    • ‘Both administrations have their reasons for remaining cautious on both issues but that does not mean they should be equally chary about rebuilding economic bridges and forging partnerships.’
    • ‘Because the law has always been very chary of creating any new negative easements.’
    • ‘Yet people in the science-studies racket have also grown more prudent; they are chary of making outrageous epistemological claims with flags flying and trumpets blaring the way they used to on a daily basis.’
    • ‘These are some of the compositions even those adept at the art are chary of attempting.’
    wary, cautious, circumspect, heedful, careful, on one's guard, guarded, mindful, watchful
    distrustful, mistrustful, doubtful, sceptical, suspicious, dubious, hesitant, reluctant, disinclined, loath, averse, shy, nervous, apprehensive, uneasy, afraid
    leery, cagey, iffy, on one's toes
    View synonyms


Old English cearig sorrowful, anxious; related to care. The current sense arose in the mid 16th century.