\ \ [16] Wry means literally ‘twisted’ (many other English words beginning with wr-, such as wrist and writhe, share the same basic meaning).
\ \ It comes from the now obsolete verb wrydeviate, twist’, which was descended from Old English wrīgianturn, tend in a particular direction’. Wriggle [15] is probably related.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • wry´ly — wry «ry», adjective, wri|er, wri|est, verb, wried, wry|ing. –adj. 1. turned to one side; …   Useful english dictionary

  • Wry — Wry, a. [Compar. {Wrier}; superl. {Wriest}.] [Akin to OE. wrien to twist, to bend, AS. wrigian to tend towards, to drive.] [1913 Webster] 1. Turned to one side; twisted; distorted; as, a wry mouth. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence, deviating from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wry — [ raı ] adjective funny and clever: The program was full of wry observations about married life. a. showing that you think something is funny but not very pleasant, often by the expression on your face: a wry smile/grin/comment: A wry smile… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • wry — [raı] adj [only before noun] [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: wry to twist (14 19 centuries), from Old English wrigian to turn ] a wry expression or wry humour shows that you know a situation is bad, but you also think it is slightly amusing ▪ Was it as …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Wry — Wry, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Wried}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Wrying}.] [OE. wrien. See {Wry}, a.] To twist; to distort; to writhe; to wrest; to vex. Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster] Guests by hundreds, not one caring If the dear host s neck were wried. R.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wry — wry·ly; wry·ness; wry; …   English syllables

  • wry — [rī] vt., vi. wried, wrying [ME wrien, to twist, bend < OE wrigian, to turn, twist, akin to OFris wrigia, to bend, stoop < IE * wreik (> L rica, head veil) < base * wer , to turn, bend] to writhe or twist adj. wrier or wryer, wriest… …   English World dictionary

  • Wry — Wry, v. t. [AS. wre[ o]n.] To cover. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Wrie you in that mantle. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Wry — Wry, v. i. 1. To twist; to writhe; to bend or wind. [1913 Webster] 2. To deviate from the right way; to go away or astray; to turn side; to swerve. [1913 Webster] This Phebus gan awayward for to wryen. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] How many Must murder …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wry — (adj.) 1520s, distorted, somewhat twisted, from obsolete verb wry to contort, to twist or turn, from O.E. wrigian to turn, bend, move, go, from P.Gmc. *wrig (Cf. O.Fris. wrigia to bend, M.L.G. wrich turned, twisted ), from PIE *wreik to turn (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • wry — has inflected forms wryer, wryest, and derivative forms wryly, wryness …   Modern English usage

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