Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Good morning, readers! Today marks the two-week anniversary of this young blog. In those two weeks, I've gone from a daily post to a buncha-times-per-week posting plan. I guess that's the way it goes - you can't force wordly inspiration. (If I can be bold enough to call it that.) Nor can you fight early morning laziness.

No matter, I'm back with "awry." I've always found this word amusing because it just sounds so funny and doesn't seem to have any connection with its meaning. When "things go awry," what does that truly mean? I think of the word "wry," which means dry or clever or ironic humor. How does that get an A attached to the front and then be allowed to describe disaster or a mess? Having "a" as a prefix more commonly makes a word into its opposite ("moral" becomes "amoral," for example).

What makes awry stand out even more for me is actually an embarrassing situation. As some of you know, I'm a stronger visual learner and pick up things much faster by seeing or reading them than I do by hearing them. So as I grew up and took things in from others, my vocabulary increased. I discovered the word awry and understood from people using it in conversation that it describe things not going as planned. As a voracious reader, I had also come across "awry" many, many times. But I thought it was a word pronounced "ah-ree"and made no connection whatsoever (despite its identical meaning) to the word pronounced "uh-rye". Until, of course, I used "ah-ree" in a conversation (as an adult) with someone and caused endless fits of laughter to erupt from my friends. That's when I learned "ah-ree" and "uh-rye" were the same "awry." I felt like a moron.

Sadly, I have the same story to tell about another word. I'll save that for another day.

Until then, this is David Wartik. Word up!

1 comment:

  1. I recall hearing it pronounced "AW-ree" in more than one read-aloud occasions. Don't feel bad. I love the concept of this blog and am going to add it to the links on mine!