wry

verb
\ ˈrī How to pronounce wry (audio) \
wried; wrying

Definition of wry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to pull out of or as if out of proper shape : make awry

wry

adjective
wryer\ ˈrī(-​ə)r How to pronounce wry (audio) \; wryest\ ˈrī-​əst How to pronounce wry (audio) \

Definition of wry (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : bent, twisted, or turned usually abnormally to one side a wry nose
2 : made by a deliberate distortion of the facial muscles often to express irony or mockery a wry smile
4 : cleverly and often ironically or grimly humorous a wry wit

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wry

Adjective

wryly \ ˈrī-​lē How to pronounce wry (audio) \ adverb
wryness noun

Examples of wry in a Sentence

Adjective His books are noted for their wry humor. When I asked her how she felt after winning the race, she gave me a wry smile and said, “Pretty tired.”
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That can have the effect of Trump impersonator Sarah Cooper delivering a cartoon TikTok; the humor largely comes from attaching Trump’s utterances to wry new visuals. Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On an app that often privileges the antic, Mr. Boutilier’s anti-takes became a wry course correction. New York Times, 8 July 2021 The Book of Mormon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not stage a Catholic League–style tantrum but instead took out a series of wry advertisements in the playbill, inviting theater-goers to receive a copy of the Mormon scriptures. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 23 June 2021 Jose Vivanco, a wry film student from Peru who’d started driving full-time and persuaded his girlfriend, Bianca Santori, to drive to support her sewing blog. Lauren Smiley, Wired, 22 June 2021 The actor and author Stephen Fry, recorded on video in England, gave wry depth to Cocteau’s often coy narration. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 21 June 2021 No matter the decade, Poundstone’s wry aggregations capture a view of Los Angeles as a place that is always arriving yet never quite lands. Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2021 Her wry dismissal of accusers is both what keeps her standing and what inflames her enemies. Washington Post, 1 June 2021 McCloskey seems to have had a wry sense of humor, and readers must pay attention to details when reading these tales. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 25 Apr. 2021 No matter the subject matter, the hosts’ chemistry and wry rapport makes every episode a delight. New York Times, 26 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of wry

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wry

Verb

Middle English wrien, from Old English wrigian to turn; akin to Middle High German rigel kerchief wound around the head, Greek rhiknos shriveled, Avestan urvisyeiti he turns

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About wry

Time Traveler for wry

Time Traveler

The first known use of wry was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near wry

wrung

wry

wrybill

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wry

Cite this Entry

“Wry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wry. Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wry

wry

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of wry

: humorous in a clever and often ironic way
: showing both amusement and a feeling of being tired, annoyed, etc.

wry

adjective
\ ˈrī How to pronounce wry (audio) \
wryer; wryest

Kids Definition of wry

1 : funny in a clever or ironic way a wry remark
2 : expressing irony a wry smile

More from Merriam-Webster on wry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wry

Nglish: Translation of wry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wry for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!