What are English language words that end with "gry"?
gry- to roar (OED)
No less than twelve replies arrived in the mailbox to answer Patricia L. Joy’s query
about the three words in the English language ending in "-gry" (RQ, Fall 1995)
The question has apparently been making the rounds; at least two readers enclosed copies
of newspaper question-and-answer columns where it had appeared in a quiz show. Three
possibilities were found in various dictionaries. The first , "angry," describes a certain type
of variegated glass bead found buried in the earth in Ghana and in England. This definition
appears in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (OED). Librarians in Alabama,
New Jersey, New York, and Arizona submitted that one.
The second possibility is "puggry," a variant spelling of "puggree," which is "a light scarf wound
around a hat or helmet to protect the head from the sun." That word appears in the OED, but
also can be found in Webster’s New International Dictionary, 2d ed., and Funk and Wagnall’s Crossword Puzzle Word Finder. Librarians in Illinois and Florida brought this to our attention.
The third possibility is the word "gry" itself, an obsolete word, according to the OED, which
could mean "the grunt of a pig, the dirt under the nail; hence the veriest trifle." It is further explained
as "the smallest unit in Locke’s proposed decimal system of hundredth of an inch, and the
thousandth of a (philosophical) foot." The word can also be found in Walker’s Rhyming Dictionary
of the English language, a seldom-used source, and Funk and Wagnall’s New Standard Dictionary. Georgia, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey librarians contributed this word.
Sally Garrett, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, New York, sent a copy of a
Newsday clipping (May 9, 1975) that carried the question and the same three answers in a
column called "Problem Line," by Anita Richterman. The query also appeared in the Boston Globe’s "Ask the Globe" column (December 4, 1975), according to Jean O. Nyang’ani, Reading (Massachusetts) Public Library, but the reply wasn’t nearly as helpful. Apparently the editors queried G.&C. Merrian Co.; their response was that the only three words in the English language that end in "-gry" are angry, hungry, and anhungry-"the last word being an obsolete term for hungry." I think "Exchange" readers beat the Merriam Co. 3-1 on this question!