wry

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English wrien, from Old English wrīġian (to go, turn, twist, bend, strive, struggle, press forward, endeavor, venture), from Proto-Germanic *wrigōną (to wriggle), from Proto-Indo-European *wreiḱ- (to turn, wrap, tie), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (to turn, bend). Compare awry, wriggle.

Adjective[edit]

wry (comparative wrier or wryer, superlative wriest or wryest)

  1. Turned away, contorted (of the face or body).
    • 1837, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, ch. 17:
      '"Why, you snivelling, wry-faced, puny villain," gasped old Lobbs.
    • 1913, Victor Appleton, The Motion Picture Chums at Seaside Park, ch. 11:
      “Humph! Had to,” said Pep with a wry grimace.
  2. Dryly humorous; sardonic or bitterly ironic.
    • 1871, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, The Haunted Baronet, ch. 6:
      "[T]he master says a wry word now and then; and so ye let your spirits go down, don't ye see, and all sorts o' fancies comes into your head."
  3. Twisted, bent, crooked.
  4. Deviating from the right direction; misdirected; out of place.
    • 1820, Sir Walter Scott, The Abbot, ch. 34:
      Catherine hath made a wry stitch in her broidery, when she was thinking of something else than her work.
    • 1876, Walter Savage Landor, The Works and Life of Walter Savage Landor, vol. IV, Imaginary Conversations, Third Series: Dialogues of Literary Men, ch. 6—Milton and Andrew Marvel, p. 155 (Google preview):
      . . . the wry rigour of our neighbours, who never take up an old idea without some extravagance in its application.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

wry (third-person singular simple present wries, present participle wrying, simple past and past participle wried)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To turn (away); to swerve or deviate.
    • 1535, Thomas More, Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, ch. 18:
      God pricketh them of his great goodness still. And the grief of this great pang pincheth them at the heart, and of wickedness they wry away.
    • c. 1610, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, act 5, sc. 1:
      You married ones,
      If each of you should take this course, how many
      Must murder wives much better than themselves
      For wrying but a little!
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To divert; to cause to turn away.
  3. (transitive) To twist or contort (the body, face etc.).
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English wryen, wrien, wreon, wrihen, from Old English wrēon (to cover, clothe, envelop, conceal, hide, protect, defend), from Proto-Germanic *wrīhaną (to wrap, cover), from Proto-Indo-European *wreiḱ- (to turn, wrap, tie), from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (to turn, bend).

Verb[edit]

wry (third-person singular simple present wries, present participle wrying, simple past and past participle wried)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To cover; clothe; cover up; cloak; hide.