des·​ic·​cate | \ ˈde-si-ˌkāt How to pronounce desiccate (audio) \
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

desiccative \ ˈde-​si-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce desiccative (audio) \ adjective
desiccator \ ˈde-​si-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce desiccator (audio) \ 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

The veld looked like the giant desiccated hide of some ancient creature, skinned and scarred and skeletal. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Pipe a line of frosting around the hat and sprinkle with nonpareils or desiccated coconut. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Snowy Cookie Truffles," 30 Nov. 2018 Many people prefer desiccated thyroid (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, May 2013). Teresa Graedon, The Seattle Times, "CBD oil keeps long-distance runner going," 25 Oct. 2018 Wood releases most of its moisture through its end grain, and both types of stacks expose the wood to capitalize on the heat of the sun and desiccating breezes. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Stack Firewood," 28 Sep. 2018 Schaus' swallowtails historically lived in tropical hardwood hammocks from Miami south into the Keys, but their population crashed as droughts desiccated their remaining habitat. Jennifer Kay, Fox News, "Researchers help rare butterfly take flight in Florida Keys," 27 July 2018 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

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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Statistics for desiccate

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desiccate

The first known use of desiccate was in 1575

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More Definitions for desiccate


des·​ic·​cate | \ ˈdes-i-ˌkāt How to pronounce desiccate (audio) \
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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