6 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +2
aggry, puggry, meagry, angry and hungry
Please see the link below.
Good luck and greetings from Oso ¶:^)
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, five words in the English language end in -gry. In addition to the common angry and hungry:
* aggry, a glass bead found buried in the earth in Ghana.
* puggry, a light scarf wound around a hat or helmet to protect the head from the sun, and
* meagry, of meager appearance.
Native speaker of: Spanish
PRO pts in pair: 138
26 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +5
Words ending in "gry"
A riddle of this form is circulating widely on the Internet:
"There are three words in English that end in GRY, hungry and angry are two, what is the third?"
Much effort has gone into finding the word and various pseudo-medical or otherwise obscure words that purport to fit the bill have been put forward. The confusion comes from the fact that the version of the riddle in circulation isn't the original and misses a vital part of the wording. In its original form the riddle went like this:
"Think of words that end in GRY. Angry and hungry are two of them. There are only three words in the English language. What is the third word? The word is something that everyone uses every day. If you have listened carefully, I have already told you what it is."
You will have realised by now that it's all a linguistic trick and the the third word in 'the English language' is of course 'language'.
So, now you can give up the search and move on to more useful pastimes.
Note added at 2003-01-07 20:44:44 (GMT)
Gry, Gry, Everywhere, and Not a Clue in Sight.
One of the corollaries of writing a newspaper column on words and language, answering questions from readers, is that I frequently receive questions that I have already answered. This is not surprising -- after all, I can\'t expect my readers to lock themselves in tiny rooms, forgo meals and vacations and all human companionship (as I do), all for the sake of keeping up with one little column. So when I receive a question I\'ve already answered (the derivation of \"posh\" being a perennial favorite), I usually either answer it again in print or reply by mail.
My policy on reruns was working quite well until recently, when I suddenly began to receive a particular question not once a month, not even once a week (the previous record, held by \"posh\"), but in the neighborhood of five times a day, every blessed day of the week. All of these queries came via internet e-mail, and all of them asked the same question in roughly the same words:
\"There are supposed to be three common words in English ending in \'gry\' -- hungry, angry, and ....what? What\'s the third word ending in \'gry\'?\"
This is, you will note after a few moments of quiet reflection, a most remarkably vexing question, and my readers showed signs of being mightily vexed. It isn\'t easy to convey desperation in an e-mail message, but many of my correspondents made it clear that their lives had been rendered unlivable by prolonged contemplation of the puzzle. \"Please send the answer right away! It\'s driving me crazy!\" was tone of the more sedate messages. A few of my more excitable readers threatened dire consequences, ranging from pulling out their own hair to pulling out mine, if I didn\'t hop to it, pronto, and supply the magical third word.
My first impulse, faced with a torrent of such desperate entreaties, was to ignore the whole ruckus. After all, not only had I answered this question twice within the last year, but my columns on the subject were posted on my World Wide Web page, in plain sight of most of my questioners. I had even put a note near the top of my Web page asking folks to read the columns rather than bedeviling me with endless variations on the \"gry\" question. A distressing number of my readers, however, evidently addled by the siren song of \"the third word,\" were unable to read my plea for surcease, and so the deluge of \"gry\" continued.
Perhaps it was because I opened my e-mailbox one morning and discovered a baker\'s dozen of fresh queries about the \"third word,\" or perhaps it was because one of them came from a distinguished dictionary editor (who shall remain, although not nameless, herein unnamed), but that morning I decided that I owed a duty to my readers, and that my only honorable course was to gird for battle yet again and venture forth to expunge the hydra-headed \"gry\" riddle once and for all. Besides, all this \"gry\" business was beginning to get on my nerves.
Conveniently for me, a collection of possible \"third words\" ending in \"gry\" already existed, compiled by the brain-teaser mavens in the \"rec.puzzles\" Usenet discussion group on the internet. It seems that aside from words based on \"angry\" or \"hungry\" (such as \"dog-hungry\"), Webster\'s Third New International unabridged dictionary lists only one word ending in \"gry\" -- \"aggry,\" meaning a type of prehistoric bead. But it seems quite a stretch to classify \"aggry\" as a common English word. Elsewhere, the Oxford English Dictionary, among others, also lists \"gry\" as a word all by itself, meaning a very small distance (about a tenth of an inch in John Locke\'s proposed decimal system). The Greek root of \"gry\" is noted in the OED as possibly meaning \"the grunt of a pig,\" presumably one who was offered \"gry\" as a solution to this puzzle. Whether this minimalist \"gry\" can, in fact, be fairly said to \"end\" in \"gry\" is an existential question, but, in any case, the OED classifies this particular \"gry\" as obsolete, so it fails the \"in common use\" test.
And with those half-hearted clues, the trail of the diabolical \"gry\" went cold. In a display of either virtuoso lexicographic gumption or understandable frustration, whoever compiled the rec.puzzles article on the subject had appended a long list of words culled from a wide variety of dictionaries, all of them ending in \"gry,\" most of them obsolete, and none of them even close to being an acceptable answer.
There appeared to be no satisfying solution to the \"gry\" challenge. \"Aggry\" seemed to be the accepted answer to the puzzle by virtue of its inclusion in Webster\'s Third, and it was the answer I had reluctantly reported to my readers twice before, but surely \"aggry\" couldn\'t be the real answer. No one would bother to dream up a puzzle capable of vexing what seemed to be millions of people (all of whom seemed to know my e-mail address) if the answer were a dumb old word like \"aggry,\" would they? Where\'s the fun in that?
My further searches of the internet proved only that (a) nobody else knew of a better answer to the puzzle, and (b) my readers and I were not alone at Wit\'s End. Numerous Usenet discussion groups, several of which had nothing to do with words or puzzles, had lately been deluged with the \"gry\" question. There seemed, in fact, to be a net-wide brouhaha in progress, with half the online world pleading for an answer to the puzzle, and the other half telling them to stick a sock in it and take their stupid question out of rec.pets.pit-bulls. Here, at least, was the answer to why I had been receiving so many queries -- someone was crying \"gry!\" on a very crowded internet.
But still, there I stood, stymied and stranded, with only a limp and unconvincing \"aggry\" to offer my trusting readers, several of whom seemed capable of being very unpleasant when denied the \"zinger,\" the \"common word,\" that the riddle promised. I was contemplating the probable wisdom of changing my e-mail address when I received yet another message, the subject line, as usual, \"Gry.\" Ho-hum. But, lo and behold, this message wasn\'t another \"gry\" question -- it was, at long last, at least a sort of an answer.
From Jeffrey L. Seglin, the message read:
\"I know you and countless other word sites and discussion groups have been plagued with the puzzle about the third word ending with \"gry.\" I\'ve read the accounts that list the out-of-use words ending in \"gry\" from the OED. But perhaps the whole puzzler is more a grade school antic than anything else. The way I heard the setup for the question was this:
\"There are three words in the English language that end with \"gry.\" One is hungry and the other is angry. What is the third word? Everyone uses this word every day, everyone knows what it means, and knows what it stands for. If you have listened very closely I have already told you the third word.\"
\"If you read the second sentence you see that the \"third\" word is \"hungry.\" By the time the puzzler made it to the internet, passed on by people who received the original wording as above but failed to solve it, the precision of the wording changed so it would be impossible to solve. Pretty silly, no?\"
Pretty silly, yes. And confusing, too. By the rules of this game, the \"third word\" could as well be \"three\" or, interpreting that third sentence very perversely, \"what.\" But it seems clear to me, based on Mr. Seglin\'s insight, that the question of \"gry\" is just a silly riddle, mangled on the Information Superhighway, and, personally, I\'ve had enough. I ain\'t gonna study \"gry\" no more.
Note added at 2003-01-07 20:54:47 (GMT)
Riddle Me No Riddles
Once upon a time, riddles were respectable. Their antiquity and function can be guessed at from the word\'s origin in Old English raedan, \'a story or interpretation\', which is cognate with words meaning \'counsel, opinion, conjecture\' and is also the origin of our modern word read. Such poems (for in its original form the riddle was a verse form) were a regular part of entertainment and instruction, an elevated form of guessing game.
Alas, the riddle is now a debased form, more a play on words than something that demands thought and skill in its solving. Recent events in North America, however, confirm that the riddle - even in this debased form - is far from dead. Nobody seems to be absolutely sure how it started, but quite suddenly everybody concerned with words, from librarians to newspaper columnists to dictionary makers to Usenet newsgroups such as alt.usage.english and rec.puzzles were deluged with enquiries along the lines of \"There are three words in English ending in -gry. I only know hungry and angry. Please tell me what the third one is. I\'m going mad trying to find the answer\". The reason why so many people were tearing their hair out is that there is no third common word in English ending in -gry, though there are several rare or obsolete ones. So why were so many people desperate to find something that didn\'t exist?
It seems that the question had been taken from some old book of puzzles, had been given publicity, perhaps on a radio programme (Richard Lederer says it was on the Bob Grant radio talk show on WMCA in New York City in 1975), had taken the fancy of large numbers of people, and had been passed by word of mouth across North America, becoming corrupted on the way, until later hearers only received the bastardised version I\'ve already quoted. I\'ve seen various versions of the supposed original form of the riddle. It may have have been something like:
There are two words that end with \"gry\".
Angry is one and hungry is another.
What is the third word.
Everyone uses it every day and
Everyone knows what it means.
If you have been listening,
I have already told you what the word is.
One of the first mistakes in transmission appears to have been the inclusion of a question mark at the end of the third line. This turned a simple bit of verbal trickery, whose answer is \"what\", into a fruitless exercise in lexicographic detective work. Another version is:
Think of words ending in \'gry\'.
Angry and hungry are two of them.
There are only three words in the English language.
What is the third word?
The word is something that everyone uses every day.
If you have listened carefully,
I have already told you what it is.
and in this case the answer must surely be \'language\' (the third word in \"the English language\").
Yet a third version claiming to be the original was published in the US magazine Parade in March 1997, in a letter from Charles Wiedemann of New Jersey, who was responding to an article on the mystery by Marilyn Vos Savant. His version is:
There are at least three words
in the English language that end in g or y.
One of them is \"hungry\", and another one is \"angry\".
There is a third word, a short one,
which you probably say every day.
If you are listening carefully to everything I say,
you just heard me say it three times.
What is it?
which relies on verbal trickery to confuse the quickly-said \"g or y\" with \"gry\". The answer is actually \'say\'.
In one form or another the basic riddle seems to have been known for many years (one person is quoted in the alt.usage.english FAQ as saying \"I heard this riddle 20 years ago from a fiddle player. He got it from his wife who taught pre-school\"). Several librarians in the US report that it is a common question, to which long ago they determined stock answers, confirming that it is far from new. It seems it has also crossed the Atlantic, as it is quoted as a question asked of the Oxford Word and Language Service (OWLS) in Questions of English.
Everybody is very pleased that this most recent peak of interest in the riddle is now over and we can get back to some real work. Here, for the record and in case anybody is still interested, are a few other words in -gry that do exist in English, though only specialist dictionary-makers and students of the history of the language have even heard of most of them. I have left out compounds such as land-hungry.
aggry - Coloured and variegated glass beads of ancient manufacture, found buried in the ground in Africa. A word of unknown origin. Seemingly always used attributively, as in aggry beads.
braggry - A variant form of braggery. Obsolete.
conyngry - An obsolete dialectal variant of conyger, itself an obsolete term meaning \'rabbit warren\'.
gry - The smallest unit in Locke\'s proposed decimal system of linear measurement, being the tenth of a line, the hundredth of an inch, and the thousandth of a (\'philosophical\') foot. Also the grunt of a pig, an insignificant trifle, or a verb meaning to roar. Obsolete.
iggry - Egyptian colloquial Arabic pronunciation of ijri: \'Hurry up!\', brought back after the First World War by members of British and Australian forces who had fought in Egypt.
meagry - Having a meagre appearance. Obsolete.
nangry - A variant form of angry. Obsolete.
podagry - Dodder, or the condition of a plant infested with it.
puggry - A variant form of puggree, a light turban or head-covering worn by inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent.
A pretty meagre (or meagry) selection ...
| Nikita Kobrin|
Local time: 20:37
Native speaker of: Russian
PRO pts in pair: 35
|thank you for the answer a huge amount of people were basically being driven mad by the question. and quiet a few still did not get it.|