ar·​id | \ ˈa-rəd How to pronounce arid (audio) , 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

Other Words from arid

aridity \ ə-​ˈri-​də-​tē How to pronounce arid (audio) , a-​ \ noun
aridness \ ˈa-​rəd-​nəs How to pronounce arid (audio) , 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 Deaths have increased as migrants are pushed to more remote crossings that are more arid and inhospitable by the day. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, 30 June 2022 Conditions Monday near the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire and within the extremely critical risk area remain incredibly arid, with relative humidity levels only in the single digits. Rob Shackelford And Judson Jones, CNN, 9 May 2022 In the Great Karoo, a vast semi-arid expanse in South Africa, lions and cheetahs once roamed. CNN, 27 Jan. 2022 At some point in its evolutionary history, the millipede began to move deeper and deeper below ground, perhaps because Australia above was becoming more arid and inhospitable. New York Times, 16 Dec. 2021 The warm, sunny weather is the product of an arid Western climate that is also prone to drought. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2021 Her campaign, #ActOnSahelMovement, spreads awareness of the critical role of Africa’s Sahel region, the semi-arid band of territory that stretches across the African continent from Sudan to Senegal. David Vetter, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 Archaeologists had long assumed that this semi-arid region played only a peripheral role in history. Tobias Richter, Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2021 The book is set in the near future, and its version of California is so arid, hot and flammable that water is too scarce to go around. New York Times, 30 July 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of arid

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arid

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 *h1eh2s-eh1-, stative derivative of a verbal base *h1eh2s- "make dry with heat," whence also Tocharian A asatär "(it) dries up," Tocharian B osotär; also from the same base a root noun *h1eh2s-, whence Hittite ḫāšš- "ashes, dust," from which as thematic derivatives Sanskrit ā́saḥ "ashes, dust," and (as a collective or noun of appurtenance?) *h1eh2s-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 *h1eh2s as *h1h2s-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 *h2h̥1s- of the root noun. See also ash entry 2, azalea.

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Arid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for arid


ar·​id | \ ˈer-əd How to pronounce arid (audio) \

Kids Definition of arid

: not having enough rainfall to support agriculture

More from Merriam-Webster on arid

Nglish: Translation of arid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arid for Arabic Speakers


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