Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Very cautious; wary: was chary of the risks involved.
  • adj. Not giving or expending freely; sparing: was chary of compliments.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Sad; sorrowful; grievous.
  • adj. Disposed to cherish with care; careful.
  • adj. Cautious; wary; shy.
  • adj. Sparing; not lavish; not disposed to give freely; frugal; ungenerous.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Careful; wary; cautious; not rash, or reckless.
  • adj. Saving; frugal; sparing; not spendthrift; -- often used with of.
  • adj. Fastidious; picky; choosy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Careful; disposed to cherish with care; cautious: often with of.
  • Sparing; not lavish; not disposed to give freely; frugal: absolute or with of: as, chary of compliments; chary of favors.
  • Charily; carefully.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by great caution and wariness

Etymologies

Middle English chari, careful, sorrowful, from Old English cearig, sorrowful, from cearu, sorrow; see care.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English ċeariġ ("careful, sorrowful, pensive, wary, chary, anxious, grievous, dire"), from Proto-Germanic *karagaz (“anxious, sad”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵār- (“voice, exclamation”), equivalent to care +‎ -y. Cognate with Dutch karig ("scant, sparing, austere"), German karg ("meagre, barren, poor") and Norwegian karrig ("meagre, barren, poor"). More at care. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Telangana JAC district convenor Dr. K.naka chary and Co,. convener, K. Rangaraju and a host of other leaders took part.

    The Hindu - Front Page

  • Maybe they are, in some strange way, but I'll bet Sy hersh really said, "chary", or even "wary".

    Think Progress

  • This year, six students went that far until stumped by the words "chary," "nadir" and "yamen" in the next three rounds.

    Times Leader News

  • But yes, good of Prof. Adler, who I hope will be a little chary of Althousian pseudoreality in future.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Taking the Washington Post to School

  • Some of us are chary of giving every stranger in ping-shot a pretext for striking up a conversation.

    Digital Signalling

  • Felix et errabunda XIV graphic, in-the-flesh evidence of what abuse and suffocation are doing to me the sweet, animal wisdom that allowed me to sleep for most of two days (just what I needed) all the extra sleep that makes me look ten years younger having so many friends who care wow! high praise from a once-chary mentor this, at least setting healthy limits …

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • As in, the gentleman is chary about voicing his concerns.

    A Light at Winter’s End

  • It looked like the opportunity to make some chary inquiries had presented itself.

    A Light at Winter’s End

  • But over time those anomalies have taken on meaning to viewers, so he's chary of jettisoning them in the name of authenticity.

    Movies: Ann Hornaday on use of sound effects in 'Secretariat' and other films

  • Talk flows from his tongue like the freshets of the spring, but he is chary of deeds.

    The Son of the Wolf

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Comments

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  • One should nevertheless avoid hackneyed quotations, even though they be the words of the great. Remembering that quotation is, after all, only adopting for the time being some article of apparel belonging to another, one should be chary of dressing oneself in cast-off clothing.
    (John C. Dow)

    March 21, 2008

  • Fans of the Dark Tower series may be reminded of charyou tree - meaning either 'Come, reap' or 'death for you, life for our crops'. Dark Tower Wiki

    July 9, 2007

  • ADJECTIVE: 1. Very cautious; wary: was chary of the risks involved. 2. Not giving or expending freely; sparing: was chary of compliments.
    ETYMOLOGY: Middle English chari, careful, sorrowful, from Old English cearig, sorrowful, from cearu, sorrow. See care.
    OTHER FORMS: charily —ADVERB
    chariness —NOUN

    July 9, 2007