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90s Slang You Should Know


[rahy] /raɪ/
adjective, wrier, wriest.
produced by a distortion or lopsidedness of the facial features:
a wry grin.
abnormally bent or turned to one side; twisted; crooked:
a wry mouth.
devious in course or purpose; misdirected.
contrary; perverse.
distorted or perverted, as in meaning.
bitterly or disdainfully ironic or amusing:
a wry remark.
Origin of wry
1515-25; adj. use of wry to twist, Middle English wryen, Old English wrīgian to go, strive, tend, swerve; cognate with Dutch wrijgen to twist; akin to Old English wrigels, Latin rīcula veil, Greek rhoikós crooked
Related forms
wryly, adverb
wryness, noun
2. awry, askew.
2. straight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wryly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Indeed, he wryly found his orthodox opponent guilty of the very crime with which he, as a subversive, was charged.

  • "And a desire for more trank to keep the mood going," Joe said wryly.

    Mercenary Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • "I came to the same conclusion myself, when I experimented," Ross said wryly.

    The Common Man Guy McCord (AKA Dallas McCord Reynolds)
  • Peter MacDonald said wryly, "We, too, were pressured into such a step."

    Adaptation Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • With a world of problems on my mind I thought it would be wryly amusing to resolve whatever difficulties troubled my butler.

British Dictionary definitions for wryly


adjective wrier, wriest, wryer, wryest
twisted, contorted, or askew
(of a facial expression) produced or characterized by contorting of the features, usually indicating dislike
drily humorous; sardonic
warped, misdirected, or perverse
(of words, thoughts, etc) unsuitable or wrong
verb wries, wrying, wried
(transitive) to twist or contort
Derived Forms
wryly, adverb
wryness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from dialect wry to twist, from Old English wrīgian to turn; related to Old Frisian wrīgia to bend, Old Norse riga to move, Middle Low German wrīch bent, stubborn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wryly

1570s, from wry + -ly (2).



1520s, "distorted, somewhat twisted," from obsolete verb wry "to contort, to twist or turn," from Old English wrigian "to turn, bend, move, go," from Proto-Germanic *wrig- (cf. Old Frisian wrigia "to bend," Middle Low German wrich "turned, twisted"), from PIE *wreik- "to turn" (cf. Greek rhoikos "crooked," Lithuanian raisas "paralysed"), from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Of words, thoughts, etc., from 1590s. The original sense is preserved in awry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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