ar·​id ˈa-rəd How to pronounce arid (audio)
: excessively dry
specifically : having insufficient rainfall to support agriculture
an arid region
: lacking in interest and life : jejune
arid textbooks
aridity noun
ˈa-rəd-nəs How to pronounce arid (audio)

Examples of arid in a Sentence

a dull and arid textbook an arid speech about duty and responsibility
Recent Examples on the Web The Sahel, the arid strip south of the Sahara, has seen a succession of coups. Ruth MacLean, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 Last year, the team found a relict glacier in the geologically young region, a hopeful sign for future human habitation on a cold, arid, generally inhospitable world. Isaac Schultz / Gizmodo, Quartz, 18 Mar. 2024 Alas, beginning around 4200 B.C.E. and continuing for another 2,000 years, the climate changed, the monsoons shifted south, the big lakes dried up (or went underground) and the area became much more arid. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 Their arrests came one day after police detectives found Franco dead in an isolated and arid part of Lehi, a small city near Provo. Emily Mae Czachor, CBS News, 21 Mar. 2024 While their neighbors slowly migrate to the city, the boy’s parents dig up the arid land in search of family heirlooms. Patrick Frater, Variety, 17 Feb. 2024 The storm's moisture will help fuel heavy snow across the West, and heavy rain in the normally arid Desert Southwest over the next few days, forecasters said. USA TODAY, 6 Feb. 2024 The rain in the usually arid Los Angeles led to some celebs floating in late to the ceremony, and poor Trevor Noah had to do his darndest to stall for time. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 5 Feb. 2024 Without some excess irrigation, farming in many parts of the arid West is not sustainable. The Arizona Republic, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French & Latin; French aride, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin āridus, ārdus "dry, waterless, withered, austere (of style)," derivative, with the adjective suffix -idus, of ārēre "to be dry, parched, withered," going back to Indo-European *h2eh1s-eh1-, stative derivative of a verbal base *h2eh1s- "make dry with heat," whence also Tocharian A asatär "(it) dries up," Tocharian B osotär; also from the same base a root noun *h2eh1s-, whence Hittite ḫāšš- "ashes, dust," from which as thematic derivatives Sanskrit ā́saḥ "ashes, dust," and (as a collective or noun of appurtenance?) *h2eh1s-eh2-, whence Latin āra "altar," Oscan aasaí (locative), Hittite ḫāššā- "hearth," Old High German essa, esse "forge" (from *asjō-), Old Swedish æsia, æssia "smith's fire," Old Icelandic esja "soapstone (used in hearths)" (both from *asjōn-)

Note: Regarding the apparent derivatives ardēre "to burn, emit light or flame" and ardor "burning, fierce heat," see ardent. — Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben gives the "essive" (= stative) form of the verbal base *h2eh1s as *h2h1s-h1i̯é- and attributes the length in Latin ārēre to the influence of noun derivatives such as āra. D. Adams, however, regards the original base in Tocharian A and B to have been *ās-, corresponding to the length in the Latin verb (see A Dictionary of Tocharian B, Revised and Greatly Enlarged, Rodopi, 2013, p. 63). A. Kloekhorst (Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon, Brill, 2008, pp. 322-23) regards the short vowel in Germanic as the residue of an oblique case form *h1h2s- of the root noun. See also ash entry 2, azalea.

First Known Use

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of arid was in 1652

Dictionary Entries Near arid

Cite this Entry

“Arid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​id ˈar-əd How to pronounce arid (audio)
: very dry
especially : not having enough rainfall to support agriculture
aridity noun

More from Merriam-Webster on arid

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!