I was drawn to the expression, “I wish I could have pastrami on wry“in the beginning sentence of Maureen Dowd’s article, titled “Still mad as hell” in New York Times (February 8):
"I often wonder what Paddy would think. I wish I could have a pastrami on wry with the late writer and satirist at the Carnegie Deli and get an exhilarating blast of truth about “the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today.” What would Paddy Chayefsky make of Kim Kardashian?"
Though it appears to me the word, “wry” being used as a noun in the above sentence, none of Cambridge, Oxford, and Merriam -Webster English dictionary shows “wry” as a noun.
CED defines it only as an adjective: (before noun) showing that you find a bad or difficult situation slightly funny.”
OED defines it as an adjective:
- using or expressing dry, especially mocking, humor: example wry smile, wry comments
- (of a person’s face or features) twisted into an expression of disgust, disappointment, or annoyance.
- archaic (of the neck or features) distorted or turned to one side:
Merriam-Webster defines it as a verb:
- (vi) twist, writhe.
- (vt) to pull out of, or as if out of proper shape :
- humorous in a clever and often ironic way.
- showing both amusement and a feeling of being tired, annoyed, etc.
Here are my questions:
- What does “I wish I could have pastrami on wry“ mean? Is it a Dowd’s usual lingo? Does “wry” here mean twist or irony?
- Can “wry” be used as a noun as well as wryness?