Can the word paingry be used only as adjective?

"I was too paingry to react"

I am paingry, ha!

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    Given that this word is still in the incubator, so to speak, I don't think there will be any "official" answer. How would you propose using it as a verb or noun?
    – J.R.
    Mar 10, 2016 at 13:31
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    @Fumble - Obscurity shouldn't be a reason for closure, I don't think. This question happens to ask about a portmanteau apparently gaining traction among bloggers with debilitating injuries or disabilities. See, for example, this blog post, this meme, and this confession. Learners will invariably stumble across such newly-coined words, and they should feel free ask about them here.
    – J.R.
    Mar 10, 2016 at 22:29
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    @FumbleFingers - Sure, I've cast a few close votes every now and then. :-) But when a learner finds a word – even if it's newly coined – and wants to know how or if it could be converted into another part of speech, why wouldn't that be on topic? (I mean, if it was an established word, we could simply look it up in a dictionary, right?) I'm just glad jfc managed to leave a good answer before this got closed. I do wish, though, that you'd be more careful throwing about words like "pointless for learners to waste time on." I'm a learner, and this question taught me a new word.
    – J.R.
    Mar 11, 2016 at 17:23
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    I do wish you'd stop italicizing "learners" like that; I'm well aware who are target audience is. Moreover, I'm surprised you're arguing that learners wouldn't be interested in this, when it was a learner who asked the question. It got a lot of close votes from native speakers.
    – J.R.
    Mar 11, 2016 at 18:31
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    We can say useful things about coinages like this, though. First, we can point out that these aren't well established words (though obviously they are words). Second, we can point out that this word has the morphological shape of an adjective and that native speakers who have never heard it before would most likely expect it to be an adjective on those grounds.
    – user230
    Apr 2, 2016 at 3:30

3 Answers 3


Assuming we can compare Paingry with similar words such as angry and hungry, then these are nouns with the suffix -y added to make adjectives (anger + -y => angry, hunger + -y => hungry etc). Wiktionary describes this as "Added to nouns and adjectives to form adjectives meaning "having the quality of"".

So from that perspective, one would not normally use a word like paingry as a noun and by analogy with angry and hungry you might resort to "painger".

That said, from a descriptivist perspective I think this word is too rare to have a "standard usage" and any usage is pretty valid. If you want to start using it as a noun and you think people will understand what you mean by it, then it can be used as a noun! But it's probably wise not to use it in an exam or very formal setting as there's a good chance people won't understand your novel usage of a very unusual word and you don't want to blow a job application or anything :-)


I just thought of a standard way to use it as a noun! By placing it in a clause like "The paingry", it becomes a noun phrase referring (usually) to people who are paingry. For example:

I get on well with the hungry, but terribly with the paingry.

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    another similar word and portmanteau that seems more established than "paingry": "hangry"
    – sumelic
    Mar 11, 2016 at 1:34
  • When you use a phrase like the poor, the adjective poor isn't actually a noun. It's an adjective doing something adjectives do. (The explanation is too long to fit here, though, so it would need to be a separate question.)
    – user230
    Apr 3, 2016 at 19:39

This is a made-up word, but it's presumably derived from pain + anger. So I'd guess the noun form would be "painger" and the adver form would be "paingrily".

I would guess that this word will not catch on. It doesn't express any new idea, just the combination of two existing ideas. It's pretty much useless. I hadn't heard it before reading this post, and I won't be using it. The words that tend to "make it" are the ones for new ideas, where it would take a whole paragraph to explain what you were talking about without the new word. Like "e-mail", "boson", etc. We'll see, I suppose.

  • It's pretty much a useless word – unless you happen to suffer from Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or trigeminal neuralgia. In that case, the word might strike a chord, accurately describing your feelings as you struggle to cope with your day-to-day life.
    – J.R.
    Mar 10, 2016 at 22:40
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    I'm not saying that no one is in pain and angry at the same time. Just that you can already express this idea using two or three words. Do we really need a separate word for every possible combination of an emotion with its cause? One word meaning anger caused by physical pain, another for anger caused by your girlfriend dumping you, another for anger caused by losing your job, etc. Then we need words for depression caused by physical pain, depression caused by your girlfriend dumping you, depression cause by losing your job, frustration cause by physical pain, etc etc. ...
    – Jay
    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:23
  • ... We'd end up with millions of new words that people would have to remember. What's the point?
    – Jay
    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:24
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    The English language is already filled with hundreds of thousands of words, and new ones get added every year. There's no quota or limit. Some new "words" are mere fads that fade away, but a few catch on and get "promoted" into a dictionary. It's based mostly on prevalence and usage, not usefulness. My only point was that "it's pretty much useless" seemed a bit dismissive. As a language lover, I found it interesting to see how this word was evolving and being used – be it a passing fad, or a future word in its infancy.
    – J.R.
    Mar 11, 2016 at 6:17
  • Sure. And of course my dismissiveness was intentional. This is, of course, a matter of opinion, I don't see how either of us could prove our case. We can see if this word makes it into common usage.
    – Jay
    Mar 11, 2016 at 14:23

I would definitely caution any English language learner who wishes to use this word that it's a very recent construction, and also one that isn't really obvious on its own — it relies on the listener being aware of the other recently-popular "joke word" hangry.

"Hangry" is a portmanteau of "hungry" and "angry". These are both adjectives with corresponding nouns (and verbs, for that matter) "hunger" and "anger". But "paingry" appears to be a combination of "in pain" and "angry", which is less clever/elegant because the words don't share an ending.* The Urban Dictionary link you give suggests that this is meant to parallel "hangry" anyway. Urban Dictionary isn't really a dictionary, though, in any traditional sense — it's a website where people can make up whatever they want.

A perfectly reasonable alternate definition from just looking at the word alone might be that you mean "painger" to be a new word parallel to hunger and anger, meaning "a feeling of being in pain". Or, maybe it could be meant to be a combination of hungry and in pain. There's no real way to know — the primary reason one would assume (as I immediately did, for what it's worth) "pain + anger" as the meaning (without reading your Urban Dictionary link) would be familiarity with hangry.

So, were you to use this word, I would generally expect you use it along with a following explanation:

“Sorry I yelled at you when I stubbed my toe. I know it wasn't your fault. I was just paingry — you know, in pain and angry."

This was definitely common when "hangry" was younger, but it seems like that one is settling in to being an informal but not uncommon expression. I don't know if that'll be the case with "paingry", which seems like a less useful word overall.

Because hungry and angry are both adjectives, it follows that "hangry" follows the same rules, and that "paingry" does too. That means that these words can function as nouns.

* Tangent alert! "Hangry" is specifically interesting because there's a clear connection to an old, insoluble riddle which claims that there are three common words which end in "-gry" — when in fact there's really just the these two. But now, perhaps, there are three, including hangry... and then, in the unlikely event this catches on, four!

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