The Difference: Grow Weary vs. Grow Wary

The phrases grow wary and grow weary have different meanings because the adjective wary and weary are different words but because of their similar spellings, people often confuse them. The phrase grow weary is much more common.

To grow weary = to become tired or sick of something

For example:

  • After two hours of studying, the students began to grow weary.
  • Mike has grown weary of living in his hometown. He wants to move.
  • You’ll probably grow weary of studying English in twenty minutes.

In short, it means to become tired of something.

grow weary or grow wary?

This child has grown weary of the dreary weather.

To grow wary = to become cautious, careful or alert about something that you think might be dangerous or a problem. (Hint: to beware = to be wary)

The word wary, an adjective, is more commonly used with the BE verb. For example:

  • I told my daughter to be wary of strangers. ( = to be cautious/careful around them)
  • I was wary of upsetting Michelle. I knew she was having a bad day and I didn’t want to make it worse. ( = again, I was cautious/careful.)
  • Be wary of anyone asking for your credit card information over the telephone. ( = be cautious/careful)

The phrase grow wary is not so common, but it would mean to become wary. Here are some potential examples:

  • I grew wary of Lee after I found out that he had committed several crimes in his past.
  • Charlotte has grown wary of eating fish when she’s travelling because she has gotten food poisoning twice.
  • People are growing weary of sharing their personal data with companies because sometimes this information is shared with other organizations without their permission.

In both of these phrases, the verb grow means to become.

Hints: If you ever forget the difference between these two words, just remember the word beware which means ‘to be wary’.  Also, the word weary rhymes with dreary, which both describe something you would be tired (or weary) of.

Note 2: Grow leery is a related phrase, and it means the same as grow wary. Both mean to become cautious or careful around something that might be problematic or dangerous.

Do you think  you understand? Try this simple quiz on the differences between grow wary and grow weary.

Quiz: Grow Weary or Grow Wary

  1. Joanne and Mike  of washing the dishes, so they decided to buy a dishwasher.
  2. Some people are  of donating to charities because sometimes the money isn’t used efficiently.
  3. Investors are  of the risks of investing in companies in economically unstable regions.
  4. After only a few hours, the child  of his new toys and told his parents that he was bored.
1. grew weary 2. wary 3. growing wary 4. grew weary


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— Created by Matthew Barton of

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