Angry and Hungry

Apart from Angry And Hungry, what other common English word ends in -gry?

You are told wrong! There isn't one!

This riddle has been circulating in email for years now in various forms of words and had appeared in print media before that. Dictionary and reference departments the world over have been plagued by questions about it. It seems to have originated as a trick question, but the wording has become so garbled in subsequent transmission that it is hard to tell what was originally intended.

The most probable answer is that in the original wording the question was phrased something like this:

Think of words ending in -gry. Angry and hungry are two of them. What is the third word in the English language? You use it every day and if you were listening carefully, I've just told you what it is.

The answer, of course, is language (the third word in the English language).

There are several other English words ending in -gry which are listed in the complete Oxford English Dictionary, but none of them could be described as common. They include the trivial oddities un-angry and a-hungry and

• Aggry: aggry beads, according to various 19th-century writers, are coloured glass beads found buried in the ground in parts of Africa

• Begry: a 15th-century spelling of beggary

• Conyngry: a 17th-century spelling of the obsolete word conynger, meaning rabbit warren which survives in old English field names such as Conery and Coneygar

• Gry: the name for a hundredth of an inch in a long-forgotten decimal system of measurement devised by the philosopher John Locke (and presumably pronounced to rhyme with cry)

• Higry-pigry: an 18th-century rendition of the drug hiera picra

• Iggry: an old army slang word meaning hurry up borrowed from Arabic

• Meagry: a rare obsolete word meaning meagre-looking

• Menagry: an 18th-century spelling of menagerie

• Nangry: a rare 17th-century spelling of angry

• Podagry: a 17th-century spelling of podagra, a medical term for gout

• Puggry: a 19th-century spelling of the Hindi word pagri (in English usually puggaree or puggree) referring either to a turban or to a piece of cloth worn around a sun-helmet

• Skugry: 16th-century spelling of the dialect word scuggery meaning secrecy (the faint echo of skulduggery is quite accidental!)

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