Origin and Etymology of wry
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
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Definition of wry
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
3 : wrongheaded 1
4 : cleverly and often ironically or grimly humorous a wry wit
wrylyplay \ˈrī-lē\ adverb
Examples of wry in a Sentence
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 of wry from the Web
A promise by Peter Parker to Gwen Stacey's father to keep her away from bad guys leaves the movie's best asset, a wry Emma Stone, on the sidelines for most of the film.
Both Ryan and Matt share a wry, droll straight-man sensibility best showcased in a laugh-out-loud-good recurring bit that mocks small-state tourism bureau ads.
His remarks drew a wry reply from his host and interviewer.
By 1987, Strait was firmly entrenched as one of the top artists in the format, and this single was a perfect complement of a down-home arrangement buoyed by his wry sense of humor.
The show’s premise is dark, but its comedy is light: In that contrast lies its appeal, and the basis of its wry and affectionate update on the sitcom.
Annie, warm but wry, often cooks for guests, but tonight she’s ordered in cassoulet, a Languedoc classic, from her preferred Carcassonne butcher.
The subjects come to life through furtive glances, wry smiles, unforgiving stares, and eyes hardened by horrors past.
Penelope Lively has a wry ability to skewer – and the generosity to pull back before things get vicious.
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.
First Known Use of wry
WRY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of wry for English Language Learners
: humorous in a clever and often ironic way
: showing both amusement and a feeling of being tired, annoyed, etc.
WRY Defined for Kids
Definition of wry for Students
1 : funny in a clever or ironic way a wry remark
2 : expressing irony a wry smile
Seen and Heard
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