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

  • transitive v. To make or cause changes in the characteristics or attributes of; modify or alter.
  • transitive v. To give variety to; make diverse: vary one's diet.
  • transitive v. To introduce under new aspects; express in a different manner: vary a musical tempo.
  • intransitive v. To undergo or show change: The temperature varied throughout the day.
  • intransitive v. To be different; deviate: vary from established patterns of behavior. See Synonyms at differ.
  • intransitive v. To undergo successive or alternate changes in attributes or qualities: Foliage varies with the seasons.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To change with time or a similar parameter.
  • v. To institute a change in, from a current state; to modify.
  • v. Not to remain constant: to change with time or a similar parameter.
  • v. To display differences.
  • v. To be or act different from the usual.
  • n. Alteration; change.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Alteration; change.
  • intransitive v. To alter, or be altered, in any manner; to suffer a partial change; to become different; to be modified.
  • intransitive v. To differ, or be different; to be unlike or diverse.
  • intransitive v. To alter or change in succession; to alternate.
  • intransitive v. To deviate; to depart; to swerve; -- followed by from.
  • intransitive v. To disagree; to be at variance or in dissension.
  • transitive v. To change the aspect of; to alter in form, appearance, substance, position, or the like; to make different by a partial change; to modify
  • transitive v. To change to something else; to transmute; to exchange; to alternate.
  • transitive v. To make of different kinds; to make different from one another; to diversify; to variegate.
  • transitive v. To embellish; to change fancifully; to present under new aspects, as of form, key, measure, etc. See Variation, 4.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To change; alter: as, to vary the conditions of an experiment.
  • To diversify: modify; relieve from uniformity or monotony.
  • To change to something else; transmute.
  • To make of different kinds; make diverse or different one from another.
  • To express variously; diversify in terms or forms of expression.
  • In music, to embellish or alter (a melody or theme) without really changing its identity. See variation, 9.
  • To alter or be altered in any manner; suffer a partial change; appear in different or various forms; be modified; be changeable.
  • To differ or be different; be unlike or diverse: as, the laws of different countries vary.
  • To become unlike one's self; undergo variation, as in purpose or opinion.
  • To deviate; depart; swerve.
  • To alter or change in succession; foliow alternately; alternate.
  • To disagree; be at variance.
  • To turn out otherwise.
  • In math, analysis, to be subject to continual increase or decrease: as, a quantity conceived to vary, or have different values in the same equation.
  • In biology, to be varied or subject to variation, as by natural or artificial selection; exhibit variation. See variability, 2, variation, 8, and variety, 6.
  • n. Alteration; change; variation.

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

  • v. be subject to change in accordance with a variable
  • v. make something more diverse and varied
  • v. become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one's or its former characteristics or essence
  • v. be at variance with; be out of line with


Middle English varien, to undergo change, from Old French varier, from Latin variāre, from varius, various.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English varien, from Old French varier, from Latin variō ("to change, alter, make different"), from varius ("different, various"); see various (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.