Advanced and Proficiency Vocabulary for Exams(e.g.GRE, Banks, Civil Services, SAT / LSAT). For IELTS/TOEFL, and everyday spoken vocabulary, go to our Spoken Vocabulary Database.
The original meaning of the word ‘wry’ was to refer to something bent or twisted. It has now been adapted refer to something, such as a sense of humour, that is somewhat twisted or a little unconventional. This typically takes the form of being mockingly clever or grimly humorous in difficult situations. It can be used in both a positive and negative context.
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Despite how awful the situation was, Jane allowed herself a wry smile and said: “Well at least it can’t get any worse!”.
I was extremely embarrassed by my poor attempt at a speech at the time, but I can laugh wryly about it now. I don’t think they’ll be asking me to give another talk any time soon!
I made a couple of wry observations during the meeting but they did not go down well. The directors were in no mood for joking.