desiccate

verb
des·ic·cate | \ˈde-si-ˌkāt \
desiccated; desiccating

Definition of desiccate 

transitive verb

1 : to dry up the desiccated land

2 : to preserve (a food) by drying : dehydrate desiccated coconut

3 : to drain of emotional or intellectual vitality … a charming little romance … not desiccated and compressed within the pages of a book— Elinor Wylie

intransitive verb

: to become dried up leaves desiccating in winter Lake Valencia has been … steadily desiccating for more than 200 years.— J. Platt Bradbury et al.

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Other Words from desiccate

desiccation \ˌde-si-ˈkā-shən \ noun
desiccative \ˈde-si-ˌkā-tiv \ adjective
desiccator \ˈde-si-ˌkā-tər \ noun

Did You Know?

Raisins are desiccated grapes; they're also dehydrated grapes. And yet, a close look at the etymologies of desiccate and dehydrate raises a tangly question. In Latin siccus means "dry," whereas the Greek stem hydr- means "water." So how could it be that desiccate and dehydrate are synonyms? The answer is in the multiple identities of the prefix de-. It may look like the same prefix, but the de- in desiccate means "completely, thoroughly," as in despoil ("to spoil utterly") or denude ("to strip completely bare"). The de- in dehydrate, on the other hand, means "remove," the same as it does in defoliate ("to strip of leaves") or in deice ("to rid of ice").

Examples of desiccate in a Sentence

that historian's dryasdust prose desiccates what is actually an exciting period in European history add a cup of desiccated coconut to the mix

Recent Examples on the Web

Fires exploded in Northern California and in the Southwestern U.S., where a prolonged and severe drought has desiccated forests. Washington Post, "Colorado wildfire destroys 3 homes as flames menace US West," 5 July 2018 Fires exploded in Northern California, Utah and other areas, where a prolonged and severe drought has desiccated forests. Colleen Slevin, Fox News, "Fires menace US West, tornado touches Colorado wildfire site," 6 July 2018 Fires exploded in Northern California, Utah and other areas, where a prolonged and severe drought has desiccated forests. CBS News, "More than 60 large wildfires burning across U.S.," 6 July 2018 Earth’s atmosphere has a habit of desiccating things, after all, so plants evolved something called cutin, a waxy barrier against the elements. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Amphiphilic Liquid Coating That Keeps Your Avocados Fresh," 21 June 2018 The landscape is barren and desiccated, resembling the moon or some distant celestial body, a reminder that the astronauts are a long way from Cape Canaveral. Christian Davenport, Houston Chronicle, "What does it mean to be a NASA astronaut in the celebrity space age of Elon Musk and Richard Branson?," 15 June 2018 Ata, though desiccated by the super-dry Atacama, is no ancient mummy. Ben Guarino, BostonGlobe.com, "This tiny skeleton found in Chile might look like an alien’s, but genetics studies are uncovering the tragic, true story," 23 Mar. 2018 Ata, though desiccated by the super-dry Atacama, is no ancient mummy. Ben Guarino, BostonGlobe.com, "This tiny skeleton found in Chile might look like an alien’s, but genetics studies are uncovering the tragic, true story," 23 Mar. 2018 Last week my doctor switched me to Armour desiccated thyroid. Teresa Graedon, The Seattle Times, "Black pepper is rich in benefits," 25 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desiccate.' 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 desiccate

1575, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for desiccate

Latin desiccatus, past participle of desiccare to dry up, from de- + siccare to dry, from siccus dry — more at sack

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Time Traveler for desiccate

The first known use of desiccate was in 1575

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More Definitions for desiccate

desiccate

verb
des·ic·cate | \ˈdes-i-ˌkāt \
desiccated; desiccating

Medical Definition of desiccate 

transitive verb

1 : to dry up or cause to dry up : deprive or exhaust of moisture especially : to dry thoroughly uses radio frequencies of 100,000 Hz to 10,000,000 Hz to cut, coagulate, and desiccate tissue — Bettyann Hutchisson et al

2 : to preserve a food by drying : dehydrate desiccated coconut

intransitive verb

: to become dried up : undergo a desiccating process

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