Chary vs. Cherry

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Chary and cherry  are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words chary and cherry, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Chary means reluctant, hesitant, cautious. Chary is an adjective, the comparative is charier and the superlative is chariest. The word chary is fairly uncommon; it is derived from the Old English cearig, which means filled with care.

A cherry is a round, usually red, fruit. A cherry grows on a tree; the tree may also be referred to as a cherry, and the wood derived from the tree may be referred to as cherry. Cherry may also mean a bright red color. The plural form of cherry is cherries. The word cherry is derived from the Greek kerasos, which means cherry or cherry tree.


I always feel chary about recommending the Society’s books since I’ve supplied introductions to several of them.  (The Washington Post)

These days, he is chary about directly handling the trash in the dhalao area. (Times of India)

The town of Houlton has accepted $1,700 from various donors to go toward planting cherry blossom trees at the Gentle Memorial Building, home of the town’s parks and recreation department. (The County)

True or not, we associate the familiar lattice-topped cherry pie with George Washington’s February birthday.  (Joplin Globe)

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