wry [rahy] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin adjective, wri·er, wri·est.

  1. produced by a distortion or lopsidedness of the facial features: a wry grin.
  2. abnormally bent or turned to one side; twisted; crooked: a wry mouth.
  3. devious in course or purpose; misdirected.
  4. contrary; perverse.
  5. distorted or perverted, as in meaning.
  6. 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 crookedRelated formswry·ly, adverbwry·ness, nounSynonyms for wry 2. awry, askew.Antonyms for wry 2. straight. Examples from the Web for wryly Contemporary Examples of wryly

  • He was friendly, a little nervous, getting over a cold, and wryly funny.

    Dan Stevens Blows Up ‘Downton’: From Chubby-Cheeked Aristo to Lean, Mean American Psycho

    Tim Teeman

    September 19, 2014

  • In response to a question about Hostess going out of business, Christie wryly refused to answer.

    Justin Bieber, Gangnam-Hammer, Carly Rae Jepsen & More Viral Videos

    The Daily Beast Video

    November 24, 2012

  • “I keep saying, ‘This is just my story,’” Alford says wryly.

    JFK’s Intern-Mistress Mimi Alford Confesses, ‘I Did Love Him’

    Leslie Bennetts

    February 10, 2012

  • He noted, wryly, “Ironically, no one said word one about Carson Kressley—openly gay.”

    The Transgender Revolution, From Albert Nobbs to ‘Work It’

    Tricia Romano

    January 17, 2012

  • Jennifer wryly notes that “to some extent every little girl sees Daddy as Cary Grant.”

    Remembering My Father, Cary Grant

    Malcolm Jones

    May 3, 2011

  • Historical Examples of wryly

  • “Yes, and without many other pleasant things,” said I, wryly and decidedly.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Peter MacDonald said wryly, “We, too, were pressured into such a step.”


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

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


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • “On this island you can’t get away from the phone,” he said wryly.

    The Lani People

    J. F. Bone

  • “I was looking forward to—not worrying for a while,” he said wryly.

    Space Platform

    Murray Leinster

  • British Dictionary definitions for wryly wry adjective wrier, wriest, wryer or wryest

    1. twisted, contorted, or askew
    2. (of a facial expression) produced or characterized by contorting of the features, usually indicating dislike
    3. drily humorous; sardonic
    4. warped, misdirected, or perverse
    5. (of words, thoughts, etc) unsuitable or wrong

    verb wries, wrying or wried

    1. (tr) to twist or contort

    Derived Formswryly, adverbwryness, nounWord Origin for wry 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 Word Origin and History for wryly adv.

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

    wry adj.

    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.

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