The Three Word Riddle

I constructed this version of the riddle so carefully worded so that it actually has an answer.

There are three common words in the English dictionary that end with the letters g, r and y. Two of them are hungry and angry. The third one we use everyday and we all know what it means. What is the third word?

Many versions of this riddle are ill-stated, and one can argue that they has no answer, except for archaic words not used 'everyday'. However, some people have rationalized answers by taking advantage of the ambiguities in various versions of the puzzle. But my version of the puzzle is "clean" of such dastardly deceptions. And the answer is...

The third word is energy. This version of the riddle is carefully worded so that it doesn't state that the three letters must appear in a particular order. It does say the third word is a common word, ruling out the archaic word gry. The wording "The third one we use everyday" is deliberately ambiguous in its use of `one', for it is energy we use every day, not necessarily the word `energy'. And we do all know what `energy' means.

Note to nit-pickers: My wording of the puzzle said there were "three common words" in the dictionary, but didn't say there were only three. Are there any common words that end with "ryg", "ygr", "yrg", "rgy" or "gyr"? Apparently not. My search with Wordperfect's spell-checker dictionary yielded no such words. So this wording of the problem seems unobjectionable on all counts. Yes, I did consider this when I contructed this version of the puzzle.

For a more exhaustive account of the origin and various versions of this riddle, see The Wikipedia.

Return to Uncle Don's Notebook.