Words Ending in "gry"

Updated February 23, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The Question:

There are supposed to be three words that end in "gry". Hungry and angry are two of them. What is the third one?

The Answer:

In common English, there are actually only two words that end in "gry": hungry and angry. This has not always been the case; there are a number of archaic and obsolete English "-gry" words, including aggry, variegated glass beads of ancient manufacture; puggry, (a light scarf wound around a hat or helmet to protect the head from the sun; and, of course, gry, a unit of measure equal to one tenth of a line. As one is unlikely, however, to see these terms anywhere but in an unabridged dictionary, they aren't too helpful.

The source of the common conviction that there is> a third common "-gry" word in English comes from the following brainteaser:

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 everybody uses everyday. If you have listened carefully, I've already told you what it is.

So asked, the question becomes a trick: “There are only three words in ‘the English Language,’” it asks. “What is the third word?”

The third word in “the English Language” is, of course “Language”. Ugh.

Needless to say, when the brainteaser isn't repeated verbatim (as it hardly ever is), the meaning changes entirely-hence the widespread belief that angry and hungry have a mysterious third partner.

Visit the Usenet rec.puzzles Archive for more dazzling riddles.

-The Fact Monster

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