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adjective \ˈdrī\

Simple Definition of dry

  • : having no or very little water or liquid

  • : no longer wet

  • : having no rain or little rain

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of dry

drier also dryer play \ˈdrī(-ə)r\ driest also dryest play \ˈdrī-əst\

  1. 1 a :  free or relatively free from a liquid and especially water b :  not being in or under water c :  lacking precipitation or humidity

  2. 2 a :  characterized by exhaustion of a supply of liquid <a dry well> b :  devoid of running water <a dry ravine> c :  devoid of natural moisture <my throat was dry> d :  no longer sticky or damp e :  not giving milk <a dry cow> f :  lacking freshness :  stale g :  anhydrous

  3. 3 a :  marked by the absence or scantiness of secretions <a dry cough> b :  not shedding or accompanied by tears <a dry sob>

  4. 4 obsolete :  involving no bloodshed or drowning <I would fain die a dry death — Shakespeare>

  5. 5 a :  marked by the absence of alcoholic beverages <a dry party> b :  prohibiting the manufacture or distribution of alcoholic beverages <a dry county>

  6. 6 :  served or eaten without butter or margarine <dry toast>

  7. 7 a :  lacking sweetness :  sec <dry champagne> b :  having all or most sugar fermented to alcohol <a dry wine> <dry beer>

  8. 8 a :  solid as opposed to liquid <dry groceries> b :  reduced to powder or flakes :  dehydrated <dry milk>

  9. 9 :  functioning without lubrication <a dry clutch>

  10. 10 of natural gas :  containing no recoverable hydrocarbon (as gasoline)

  11. 11 :  requiring no liquid in preparation or operation <a dry photocopying process>

  12. 12 a :  not showing or communicating warmth, enthusiasm, or tender feeling :  severe <a dry style of painting> b :  wearisome, uninteresting <dry passages of description> c :  lacking embellishment :  plain

  13. 13 a :  not yielding what is expected or desired :  unproductive <a writer going through a dry spell> b :  having no personal bias or emotional concern <the dry light of reason> c :  reserved, aloof

  14. 14 :  marked by matter-of-fact, ironic, or terse manner of expression <a dry wit>

  15. 15 :  lacking smooth sound qualities <a dry rasping voice>

  16. 16 :  being a dry run <a dry rehearsal>

dryish play \ˈdrī-ish\ adjective
drily or dryly adverb
dryness noun

Examples of dry in a sentence

  1. Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the milk and eggs.

  2. the dry heat of the desert

  3. We tried to stay dry in the rain by standing under a tree.

  4. The stream is bone dry.

  5. Are the clothes dry yet?

  6. The paint should be dry in a few hours.

  7. a stretch of dry weather

  8. a country with a very dry climate

  9. This plant does well in dry conditions.

  10. The chicken was dry and tasteless.

Origin of dry

Middle English, from Old English drȳge; akin to Old High German truckan dry, Old English drēahnian to drain

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Climate/Meteorology Terms




Simple Definition of dry

  • : to remove water or moisture from (something or someone) : to make (something or someone) dry

  • : to make plates, dishes, pots, etc., dry by rubbing them with a towel

  • : to become dry

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of dry


  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make dry

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to become dry

dryable play \ˈdrī-ə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of dry in a sentence

  1. I'll wash the dishes if you dry them.

  2. Make sure you dry your hands.

  3. He dried himself with the towel.

  4. Stop crying and dry your eyes.

  5. I'll wash and you dry, okay?

  6. Your shirt is drying on the clothesline.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of dry

before 12th century




Definition of dry

plural drys

  1. 1 :  the condition of being dry :  dryness

  2. 2 :  something dry; especially :  a dry place

  3. 3 :  prohibitionist

13th Century

First Known Use of dry

13th century

DRY Defined for Kids



adjective \ˈdrī\

Definition of dry for Students


  1. 1 :  not wet or moist <Are the clothes dry?>

  2. 2 :  having little or no rain <a dry climate>

  3. 3 :  not being in or under water <dry land>

  4. 4 :  having little natural moisture <a dry throat>

  5. 5 :  no longer liquid or sticky <The paint is dry.>

  6. 6 :  containing no liquid <a dry creek>

  7. 7 :  not giving milk <a dry cow>

  8. 8 :  not producing desired results <a dry spell>

  9. 9 :  not producing a wet substance from the body <a dry cough> <dry sobs>

  10. 10 :  funny but expressed in a serious way <He has a dry sense of humor.>

  11. 11 :  uninteresting <a dry lecture>

  12. 12 :  not sweet <dry wines>

dry·ly or dri·ly adverb
dry·ness noun




Definition of dry for Students


  1. :  to remove or lose any moisture <Help me dry the dishes.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up dry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to defraud especially of money

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