ariestess: (autumn leaves -- from dhamphir)
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Welcome to another round of Commonly Confused Words. I'm your host, AJ, and today we'll be unraveling the differences between weary, wary, and worry, with the help of our friends from Once Upon a Time and Damien, as well as Dictionary.com.

Weary can be used as an adjective or a verb. As an adjective, it means 1) physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired; 2) characterized by or causing fatigue; 3) impatient or dissatisfied with something (often followed by of); or 4) characterized by or causing impatience or dissatisfaction; tedious; irksome. In verb form, it can be used 1) to make or become weary; fatigue or tire or 2) to make or grow impatient or dissatisfied with something or at having too much of something (often followed by of). Regardless of using it as an adjective or a verb, weary involves becoming tired and cranky in some way, shape, or form.

Snow White swayed on her feet, weary after a long day of dealing with frustrated townspeople, all of whom wanted Regina back as mayor.

The long hours of pain without medical attention wearied Sister Greta, but she refused to give in.


Wary is also an adjective, which may cause some of the inherent confusion. It means 1) watchful; being on one's guard against danger; or 2) arising from or characterized by caution. Basically, you're being careful about something.

Regina eyes the Evil Queen and conjures a fireball, wary of her darker half's underhanded tricks.

Accepting his destiny, Damien Thorn finally understood why he was also so wary around churches and hallowed ground.


Worry is more of a jack of all trades, but we'll look at the more popular ways to use it. As a verb, it can be used 1) to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret; 2) to move with effort; 3) to torment with cares, anxieties, etc.; trouble; plague; 4) to seize, especially by the throat, with the teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does another; or 5) to harass by repeated biting, snapping, etc. As a noun, it means 1) a worried condition or feeling; uneasiness or anxiety; 2) a cause of uneasiness or anxiety; trouble; 3) the act of worrying; or 4) in fox hunting, the action of the hounds in tearing to pieces the carcass of a fox. For the most part, you'll use this when something is bothering your characters.

The trio of hellish Rottweilers worry at John Lyons' throat until only a bloody pulp remains.

After the curse broke, Regina was constantly worried about an ambush by an angry mob.



So just remember this: If you feel or make someone else feel tired or sleepy, use weary. If you're watchful or cautious, use wary. If it's neither of those, use worry.


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