December 12, 2003

Together, we can change the dictionary

We in the puzzle world -- especially those of us who have ever spent more than 5 minutes reading the rec.puzzles newsgroup -- loathe the "gry" puzzle. So a bunch of us (John Chaneski, Peter Gordon, Kevin West, and myself, if I recall correctly) decided that we should make up a word, so that if anyone ever asked us the goddamn -gry riddle, we could just shrug and say, "Oh, don't you know? It's [the word we made up]. I thought everybody knew that."

We did feel that whatever word we invented should be a useful one, so we tried to come up with a concept that didn't really have an adequate word to describe it. Our word: igry [adj]. (That's pronounced with a short "i".)

"Igry" basically means "painfully embarrassed for or uncomfortable about someone else's incredibly poor social behavior, or descriptive of such poor social behavior". Like, say you're at a restaurant, and one of the people at your table summons the waiter by snapping their fingers. Watching this makes you die a little inside. You feel igry. (Or you might think, "What an igry thing to do.") The noun form is "igriness".

Anyway, I have found this to be a darn useful word. It comes up a surprising amount. (Sample: "Oh, I just can't watch 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', it makes me feel too igry.") It's enriched my clique's vocabulary and now it can start enriching yours. Use it with abandon -- especially in print -- and maybe we can get it in the dictionary in our lifetime. Go, "igry"!

Posted by Francis at 10:55 AM

My friends and I also have a word for this. We call it yang. Our definition is "the extreme discomfort or embarrassment one feels as a result of the behavior of others." For example, sitting next to the guy who is heckling the comedian you are watching. You know everyone is staring at the guy next to you, but you also feel a little embarrassed because everyone can also see you. So you sit there with a frozen smile on your face, distancing yourself as much as the seating arrangement will allow, and feel yang. Igry works, too. I'll start using it.

Posted by: D at December 12, 2003 01:41 PM

Igry is more evocative than yang. Even though I note from the link at the top of this post that 'iggry' is an old army slang word meaning `hurry up', borrowed from Arabic, so we do run the risk of confusing World War II vets.

Posted by: Daniel Radosh at December 12, 2003 02:25 PM

I wish I had known this word last week - it does come up a lot. It would have found a prominent place on my blog in the attached entry on poker etiquette.

Posted by: Ugarte at December 12, 2003 03:36 PM

Ooh, that was some pretty bad behavior. I expect, however, that the occasion to use the word will come up again, since, as you say, igriness is unfortunately not as rare as it should be.

Posted by: Francis at December 12, 2003 03:42 PM

So, would the adverb be igrily? ("He behaved igrily.")

Posted by: PW at December 12, 2003 04:20 PM

That would be the adverb, though it's a hard word to say. I would probably end up phrasing it as "That was really igry behavior."

Posted by: Francis at December 13, 2003 02:31 AM

I imagine a BBC radio theater production. In stern tones the narrator declares, "Miranda igrily tore the sheet from the bed. Daniel tried to calm her, all the while keenly aware of Dolores, who was just downstairs, and might hear them at any moment."

Posted by: Sean Carman at December 14, 2003 05:25 AM

Used "igry" at a party last night after a woman decided to demonstrate a new yoga pose in the middle of the floor. If we had been at a yoga party, I might not have felt so igry, but because we were at a Hanukkah party, I explained to my friend as we watched that her the odd context made me feel a little igry.

Posted by: D at December 22, 2003 05:19 PM

All the following are examples of the point that was made earlier in relation to prescription medication. Phentermine diet pills and Viagra are commonly available on the Internet...

[I deleted the rest of this spam, but left it up so the rest of you can be as appalled by its shamelessness as I am. -- Ed.]

Posted by: phentermine at December 25, 2003 08:50 PM

I always thought that the third word was "gryphon".

Posted by: Chip Unicorn at June 12, 2004 04:35 PM