ar·​id | \ˈa-rəd, ˈer-əd\

Definition of arid 

1 : excessively dry specifically : having insufficient rainfall to support agriculture an arid region

2 : lacking in interest and life : jejune arid textbooks

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Other Words from arid

aridity \ ə-​ˈri-​də-​tē , a-​ \ noun
aridness \ ˈa-​rəd-​nəs , ˈer-​əd-​ \ noun

Examples of arid in a Sentence

a dull and arid textbook an arid speech about duty and responsibility

Recent Examples on the Web

Airlines and scientists are studying the effects of spending 20 hours or more in an arid cabin at high altitude. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Science Behind the World’s Longest Flights," 15 Aug. 2018 Islamic extremism has penetrated this West African nation, with its arid north becoming a sanctuary for fighters from Mali and Niger. Brahima Ouedraogo, Fox News, "In heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso faces rising extremism," 15 Aug. 2018 Its arid climate and access to a brackish water aquifer make the otherwise barren land ideal for algae farming. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "Remote Texas algae farm grows a food for the future," 27 June 2018 The result is extreme water scarcity in an already arid climate, with steep prices and instability for the city’s poorest residents. Meher Ahmad, New York Times, "Looking for a Bit of Shade as Intense Heat Wave Hits Karachi," 29 May 2018 High-pH soils are more prevalent in arid climates, because rainfall does not leach the calcium and other basic materials out of the soil. Jessica Davis, Good Housekeeping, "What To Do If Your Soil Is Too Alkaline," 23 July 2015 In a show that explores the present attack on reproductive justice, West imagines a broken society rapidly declining into a dusty, arid wasteland. Kt Hawbaker,, "With 2018-19 season, Jackalope Theatre Company to stage two world premieres," 10 July 2018 Israel, a tiny, arid country that is home to more than 8 billion people, is also among the most densely populated in the world. Shira Rubin, USA TODAY, "The Middle East's first natural history museum is designed like Noah's Ark," 29 June 2018 Egypt fears the dam will cut into its share of the river, which provides virtually all the fresh water for the arid country of 100 million people. Samy Magdy, The Seattle Times, "PM says Ethiopia will not cut Egypt’s share of Nile waters," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arid

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arid

French or Latin; French aride, from Latin aridus, from arēre to be dry; akin to Sanskrit āsa ash, Old English asce

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Dictionary Entries near arid





arid cycle



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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for arid

The first known use of arid was in 1652

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English Language Learners Definition of arid

: very dry : having very little rain or water

: lacking in interest and life


ar·​id | \ˈer-əd \

Kids Definition of arid

: not having enough rainfall to support agriculture

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More from Merriam-Webster on arid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arid

Spanish Central: Translation of arid

Nglish: Translation of arid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arid for Arabic Speakers

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