• (RP) IPA: /ˈvɛəɹi/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈvɛəɹi/, /ˈvæɹi/, /ˈvɛɹi/


  1. (transitive) To change with time or a similar parameter.
    He varies his magic tricks so as to minimize the possibility that any given audience member will see the same trick twice.
    • 1695, John Dryden (translator), Observations on the Art of Painting by Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy, London: W. Rogers, p. 201, ↗
      We are to vary the customs according to the time and country where the scene of action lies.
  2. (transitive) To institute a change in, from a current state; to modify.
    You should vary your diet. Eating just bread will do you harm in the end.
    • Gods, that never change their state, / Vary oft their love and hate.
  3. (intransitive) Not to remain constant: to change with time or a similar parameter.
    His mood varies by the hour.
    The sine function varies between −1 and 1.
    • 1713, Joseph Addison, Cato, published 1712, [Act 3, scene 1]:
      While fear and anger, with alternate grace, / Pant in her breast, and vary in her face.
  4. (of the members of a group, intransitive) To display differences.
    The sprouting tendency of potatoes varies between cultivars, years and places of growing.
  5. (intransitive) To be or act different from the usual.
    I'm not comfortable with 3.Nc3 in the Caro-Kann, so I decided to vary and play exd5.
  6. (transitive) To make of different kinds; to make different from one another; to diversity; to variegate.
    • God hath varied their inclinations.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 5”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      God hath here / Varied his bounty so with new delights.
  7. (transitive, music) To embellish; to change fancifully; to present under new aspects, as of form, key, measure, etc. See variation.
  8. (intransitive, obsolete) To disagree; to be at variance or in dissension.
    • the rich jewel which we vary for
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Noun

vary (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) alteration; change.

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