Weary or wary?

06 Jan

Weary or wary seems to me to be an odd pair to mix up – sorry if you do this and don’t think it’s odd, but they just seem so different. Having said that, I do keep seeing them being mixed up, so this will probably be helpful!

I see weary being used where it should be wary more than the other way round; I have a feeling that perhaps a memory of leery is getting into it, and then the pronunciation means the writer goes for the word that sounds like leery. Who knows. Anyway, here we go:

Weary means tired. And to weary of something means to be reluctant to experience any more of it. “I’m weary, because I’ve worked 10 hours today” (this is not literally true, don’t worry!). “I’m weary of writing Troublesome Pairs posts and I don’t think I’ll do it any more” (this, also, is not true).

Wary means cautious about possible dangers or problems. It’s linked to beware, and maybe that will help people to remember it. “I’m wary of dogs after being bitten a few times”, “I’d  be wary of going down that dark alleyway if I were you.”

Let’s see if we can use the two in the same sentence … “She was weary of being wary, jumped into the middle of the pack of dogs … and got bitten.”

Sorry, dog lovers – please feel free to substitute any other biting animal in these sentences!

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Weary or wary?

  1. Vikki

    January 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Hi Liz,

    I’ve nominated you for The Kreative Blogger awards

    Hope it gets you lots of followers 😉



  2. Liz at Libro

    January 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Thank you ever so much! Can you nominate whoever you want? I see yours are all women, but presumably you can nominate men, too?


    • Vikki

      January 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

      I’m presuming you can nominate anyone 🙂

      I stuck to fellow Bloggers on WordPress, but I wish I’d nominated a few from Blogspot….oh well, never mind lol

      I think it’s a brilliant idea to get your blog noticed by people who wouldn’t usually see it…..I’ve already had a look at all your nominees 😉



  3. Sparrowgrass

    January 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    OMG have just realised I know someone who does this one verbally as well. I’d assumed it was just odd pronunciation but in reading this I have just realised they don’t actually know they are two words not one! I suspect they might take offence if I pointed it out to them though … ah well.


    • Liz at Libro

      January 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Oh goodness me – I have never heard anyone doing this one (I bet I do now, though!)



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