Someone who's unwary isn't careful — in fact, an unwary person might be a little bit reckless. When your unwary cousin travels to China, he might end up being overcharged for a rickshaw ride.

When you don't know the potential dangers or challenges that lie in front of you, you're unwary. While unwary people aren't overly suspicious or cautious, they run the risk of being taken advantage of or even getting hurt. To be wary is to be very watchful or cautious — it comes from the Old English root wær, "prudent, aware, or alert," and unwary combines it with un, or "not."

Definitions of unwary
  1. adjective
    not alert to danger or deception
    “the shrieks of unwary animals taken by surprise”
    easily tricked because of being too trusting
    displaying or feeling no wariness
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    marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
    on guard, on one's guard, on your guard, upon one's guard
    wary and distrustful; disposed to avoid persons or things
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