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

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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 The Sahel region, a semi-arid belt that acts as a buffer zone just south of the desert, is most affected. Nell Lewis, CNN, 17 Mar. 2021 The shifts have far-reaching implications in arid Western states, factoring into the availability of water, wildfire conditions and utilities’ forecasts of energy use, among other things. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, 4 May 2021 Most common in the winter months, this weather system creates the semi-arid environment of the area. Peter Rudden, CNN, 3 May 2021 Chamise dominates native chaparral ecosystems up and down the state, dense shrublands that are too arid for trees. Matt Simon, Wired, 15 Apr. 2021 The southern Kalahari is often considered too arid to be important for human evolution. Benjamin Schoville, Quartz, 4 Apr. 2021 The video alternates between lush countryside and semi-arid lands. Siva Sithraputhran, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2021 The park is also the gateway to City Creek Canyon, which maintains its relative wilderness as a means of protecting the precious water that flows through this semi-arid region. Jeremy Pugh, Condé Nast Traveler, 23 Mar. 2021 Children are dying, farmlands are arid, water is toxic, and all of it is left un-remedied by the people financially benefiting. Alicia Lutes, USA TODAY, 8 Mar. 2021

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

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

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for arid



English Language Learners Definition of arid

: very dry : having very little rain or water
: lacking in interest and life


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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arid

Nglish: Translation of arid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arid for Arabic Speakers


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