des·​ic·​ca·​tion ˌde-si-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce desiccation (audio)
: the act or process of drying or desiccating something or the state of being or becoming dried up : removal or loss of moisture : thorough drying
desiccation of soil
This … led to the increasingly dry climate and eventual desiccation of all Central Asia and Tibet.Frits Staal

Examples of desiccation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These plants tend to be more susceptible to desiccation and freezing during winter drawdowns leading to lower abundance the following warm season. Debbie Archer Special To The Commercial,, 3 Dec. 2023 The human impact on this eco-region has several causes: land use for agriculture; the conversion of forest to cattle pastures; hunting and harvesting of species; logging and the increase in forest heating and desiccation; and fires caused by human activity. Alejandro Manrique, Ars Technica, 10 Feb. 2023 Saturating the soil protects plants from desiccation. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Dec. 2023 But at that time, the gland only made a fatty acid solvent similar to the hydrocarbons that almost all insects make in their cuticles to prevent desiccation and to communicate chemically. Viviane Callier, Scientific American, 27 Sep. 2023 The rain brought by Hilary was a sharp departure from weather patterns in California, where most precipitation falls in winter and where summers often bring extreme desiccation. Thomas Fuller, New York Times, 21 Aug. 2023 In general, as the atmosphere warms with climate change, the air gets thirstier and thirstier, leading to further desiccation. WIRED, 10 Aug. 2023 Boothby says that tardigrade cells’ ability to survive desiccation could be the key to stabilizing vaccines and pharmaceuticals so that they can be stored at room temperature, instead of relying on fridges and freezers. Kate Golembiewski, Discover Magazine, 8 June 2023 In the lab, scientists exposed the microbes to desiccation, UV exposure, cold and pH extremes. Bill Andrews, Discover Magazine, 21 May 2014 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of desiccation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near desiccation

Cite this Entry

“Desiccation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


des·​ic·​ca·​tion ˌdes-i-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce desiccation (audio)
: the act or process of desiccating or the state of being or becoming desiccated
especially : a complete or nearly complete deprivation of moisture (as by vaporization or by evaporation) or of water not chemically combined : dehydration
from the long-wave diathermy machine two distinct currents are obtained which produce desiccation and electrocoagulation respectively W. H. Schmidt
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