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suspicious, trusting, gullible, naive


Suffix -ery, GRE 6 (Graduate Record Examination), Caution and Prudence, Anxiety and Fear



How to pronounce leery (audio)


Dictionary definition of leery

Cautious, suspicious, or wary about something or someone.
"She was leery of accepting the job offer from an unfamiliar company."

Detailed meaning of leery

When someone is leery, they approach a situation or person with caution and skepticism, often due to a sense of distrust or uncertainty. It implies a sense of wariness or unease, suggesting a reluctance to fully trust or engage. Individuals may feel leery when encountering unfamiliar circumstances, making decisions with potential risks, or interacting with people who have raised doubts or concerns. This adjective conveys a sense of vigilance, urging individuals to be cautious and observant in order to protect themselves from potential harm or negative outcomes. The feeling of being leery may arise from previous negative experiences, a lack of information, or a general sense of skepticism. Being leery serves as a self-protective mechanism, encouraging individuals to exercise caution and evaluate situations or individuals before fully committing or placing trust in them.

Example sentences containing leery

1. The detective remained leery of the suspect's alibi, sensing something was amiss.
2. The customer was leery of purchasing the product due to negative reviews.
3. He was leery of sharing personal information online, mindful of potential privacy breaches.
4. The hiker felt leery about venturing into the dense forest alone.
5. The investors became leery when the company's financial statements seemed inconsistent.
6. She was leery of trusting him again after he had broken her trust in the past.

History and etymology of leery

The adjective 'leery' has an uncertain etymology, and its origins are somewhat obscure. It is believed to have developed in American English during the early 19th century. Some theories suggest a possible connection to the Middle English word 'lewed,' meaning ignorant or unlearned, which evolved into 'lewd' in modern English, carrying connotations of moral misconduct. Over time, 'leery' came to describe a state of being cautious, suspicious, or wary about something or someone. Its etymology remains somewhat elusive, but the word itself captures the essence of cautious skepticism and wariness in response to potentially dubious situations or individuals.

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Further usage examples of leery

1. The dog growled, leery of the stranger approaching its owner.
2. The team was leery of making hasty decisions without thoroughly evaluating the risks.
3. The parents were leery of letting their child ride the roller coaster due to safety concerns.
4. The residents were leery of the new development project, fearing it would negatively impact their community.
5. The student was leery of the professor's teaching methods, unsure if they would be effective.
6. She was leery of his intentions after their last encounter.
7. I'm a bit leery about investing in that startup; it seems risky.
8. He grew leery of strangers approaching him on the street.
9. The detective remained leery of the suspect's alibi.
10. After the recent cyberattacks, we're all feeling leery of online security.
11. They were leery of the unfamiliar noise coming from the woods.
12. The elderly couple was leery of door-to-door salespeople.
13. He became leery of the unmarked package left at his doorstep.
14. She's always leery of new technology until it's proven safe.
15. The town became leery of outsiders moving in too quickly.
16. I'm leery of any deal that sounds too good to be true.
17. He grew leery of making promises he couldn't keep.
18. The hikers were leery of the dark clouds on the horizon.
19. After the scam, he's become leery of telemarketing calls.
20. The team remained leery of their competitor's tactics.
21. She was leery of disclosing personal information to strangers.
22. The company's employees were leery of the sudden policy changes.
23. I'm leery of lending money to friends; it can strain relationships.
24. The community was leery of outsiders trying to buy up land.
25. He's leery of joining social media due to privacy concerns.

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