A RIDDLE THAT'LL KILL YOUR BRAIN!
This is going to make you so MAD!
There are three words in the English language that end in 'gry'. One is 'angry' and the other is 'hungry.' Everyone knows what the third one means, and what it stands for. Everyone uses them every day and, if you listened very carefully, I've given you the third word.
What is it?
Origins: This puzzler may indeed "KILL YOUR BRAIN!" and "make you so MAD!" — it certainly has left plenty of victims racking their brains and scratching their heads in decades past. If you don't already know the answer to this one, let us help you preserve your sanity and whatever gray matter you may have left by telling
All other words ending in 'gry' which one might find in even the most comprehensive English dictionary are either archaic terms or obsolete variant spellings, such as:
- aggry: variegated glass beads of ancient manufacture, mentioned by various
19th-centurywriters as having been found buried in parts of Africa.
- begry: an obsolete 15th-century spelling of the word 'beggary' (i.e., extreme poverty).
- conyngry: an obsolete 17th-century spelling of the even more obsolete word 'conynger' (like 'cunningaire' and 'conygarth,' a term meaning 'rabbit warren').
- gry: a unit of measurement proposed by English philosopher John Locke in his 1690 "Essay Concerning Human Understanding."
- higry-pigry: a corruption (along with 'hickery-pickery' and 'hicra picra') of the Greek 'hiera picra' (approximately 'sacred bitters'), a term for many medicines in the Greek pharmacopoeia, particularly a purgative drug composed of aloes and canella bark.
- iggry: an early 20th century British army slang borrowing from the Arabic 'ijri, meaning 'Hurry up!"
- meagry: a rare and obsolete early 17th-century variant meaning 'meager-looking.'
- menagry: obsolete 18th-century alternate spelling of 'menagerie.'
- nangry: a rare and obsolete 17th-century variant of 'angry.'
- podagry: a 17th-century variant spelling of 'podagra,' a medical lexicon term for 'gout.'
- puggry: a 19th-century alternate spelling of 'puggaree' or 'puggree,' derived from the Hindi 'pagri,' a word for a light turban or head covering worn in India.
- skugry: a 16th-century variant spelling of 'scuggery,' meaning 'concealment' or 'secrecy.'
The most common guess is that this riddle is indeed a trick question, but the point of the trick has been lost through the rearrangement of the riddle's wording as it has been passed along through the years. Consider an alternate version of this puzzler:
Some people think this puzzler's ability to continue stumping so many people over the years makes it one of the greatest riddles ever. We disagry.
Last updated: 13 July 2007
The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. ISBN 0-19-861258-3.