\ ˈdrī How to pronounce dry (audio) \
drier also dryer\ ˈdrī(-​ə)r How to pronounce dryer (audio) \; driest also dryest\ ˈdrī-​əst How to pronounce dryest (audio) \

Definition of dry

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : free or relatively free from a liquid and especially water Mix the dry indgredients first. as dry as a bone
b : not being in or under water happy to be on dry land
c meteorology : lacking precipitation or humidity a dry climate
2a : characterized by exhaustion of a supply of liquid a dry well
b geology : devoid of running water a dry ravine
c : devoid of natural moisture My throat was dry. dry leaves
d : no longer sticky or damp The paint isn't dry yet.
e : not giving milk a dry cow
f : lacking freshness : stale
g chemistry : anhydrous
3a : marked by the absence or scantiness of secretions a dry cough
b : not shedding or accompanied by tears a dry sob
4 obsolete : involving no bloodshed or drowning I would fain die a dry death— William Shakespeare
5a : marked by the absence of alcoholic beverages a dry party
b : prohibiting the manufacture or distribution of alcoholic beverages a dry county
6 : served or eaten without butter or margarine dry toast

7 alcohol

a : lacking sweetness : sec dry champagne
b : having all or most sugar fermented to alcohol a dry wine dry beer
8a : solid as opposed to liquid dry groceries
b : reduced to powder or flakes : dehydrated dry milk
9 : functioning without lubrication a dry clutch
10 of natural gas : containing no recoverable hydrocarbon (such as gasoline)
11 : requiring no liquid in preparation or operation a dry photocopying process
12a : not showing or communicating warmth, enthusiasm, or tender feeling : severe a dry style of painting
b : wearisome, uninteresting dry passages of description a dry lecturer
c : lacking embellishment : plain
13a : not yielding what is expected or desired : unproductive a writer going through a dry spell
b : having no personal bias or emotional concern the dry light of reason
14 : marked by matter-of-fact, ironic, or terse manner of expression a dry wit has a very dry sense of humor
15 : lacking smooth sound qualities a dry rasping voice
16 : being a dry run a dry rehearsal


dried; drying

Definition of dry (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to make dry (see dry entry 1) drying her hair

intransitive verb

: to become dry waiting for the paint to dry


plural drys

Definition of dry (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : the condition of being dry (see dry entry 1) : dryness
2 : something dry especially : a dry place

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Other Words from dry


dryish \ ˈdrī-​ish How to pronounce dryish (audio) \ adjective
dryly or less commonly drily adverb
dryness noun


dryable \ ˈdrī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce dryable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for dry

Synonyms: Adjective

arid, droughty, sere (also sear), thirsty, waterless

Synonyms: Verb

dehydrate, desiccate, parch, scorch, sear

Antonyms: Adjective

damp, dank, humid, moist, wet

Antonyms: Verb

hydrate, wash, water, wet

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Examples of dry in a Sentence


Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the milk and eggs. the dry heat of the desert We tried to stay dry in the rain by standing under a tree. The stream is bone dry. Are the clothes dry yet? The paint should be dry in a few hours. a stretch of dry weather a country with a very dry climate This plant does well in dry conditions. The chicken was dry and tasteless.


I'll wash the dishes if you dry them. Make sure you dry your hands. He dried himself with the towel. Stop crying and dry your eyes. I'll wash and you dry, okay? Your shirt is drying on the clothesline.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

From there, the ventilation moved to seat backs, to try to keep backs dry. Ray Magliozzi, courant.com, "Car Talk: One small sweat for mankind," 16 Sep. 2019 The waterproof construction kept our feet dry when crossing streams and hiking through puddles after a thunderstorm. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Women's Hiking Boots for Any Outdoor Adventure," 13 Sep. 2019 Pistol Whip serves a mix of European and American dishes like Caesar salad croquettes, Piedmontese agnolotti and dry-aged beef ribeye tomahawks, created by chef Nic Lebas. Josie Sexton, The Denver Post, "Four-month-old restaurant Pistol Whip for sale in the Santa Fe Arts District," 6 Sep. 2019 Lang’s restaurant in Hollywood, APL, which opened last year, has dry-aged rib eyes for $67 and short-rib steaks for $38. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Celebrated barbecue restaurant opening outpost in Yountville," 27 Aug. 2019 His next step is getting the flag professionally dry-cleaned and finding the perfect place to put it in his home, according to the Enterprise. Fox News, "Man courageously recovers American flag from busy highway: 'it represents the freedom'," 25 Aug. 2019 Gee weaves French, Japanese, and Korean techniques and dishes with local ingredients, resulting in selections like oil-poached halibut with black bean sauce or dry-aged beef tartare with chili oil and pickled mustard. Fortune, "Vancouver Is a Haven for Cheap but Delicious Tasting Menus," 18 Aug. 2019 The parcel could be a natural or engineered wetland that helps keep adjacent houses dry. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, "When suburban golf courses close, residents and cities often clash over what to do with the land. Some manage to avoid the drama.," 13 Aug. 2019 Though the skin on her face is combination, the model says her body is a little dry. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Model Lais Ribeiro's Nighttime Skincare Routine," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In general, all marijuana intended for sale at a legal dispensary is tested for pesticides and potency, as well as for solvents, if the product is not dried marijuana flower. Gillian Flaccus, USA TODAY, "Another death is linked to vaping, the 1st tied to a pot shop," 5 Sep. 2019 Once dried, the plaster jackets formed a sturdy shell protecting the dinosaur bones inside. Hans-dieter Sues, Smithsonian, "How to Discover Dinosaurs," 3 Sep. 2019 After the ink has dried on the last lines the scroll will be carried from the synagogue down Budde Road, members taking turns raising the Torah high in celebration. Jamie Swinnerton, Houston Chronicle, "Chabad of The Woodlands celebrates milestone with new Torah," 29 Aug. 2019 Then again, the knee issue that Gurley has developed since the ink dried could make his contract a Rams liability, although Gurley has looked sudden and smooth this month. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: In Chargers talks, Melvin Gordon is underdog but not without leverage," 23 Aug. 2019 The team’s ownership group is headed by the Angelos family, lawyers who would never say never until ink dries on a contract, so the latest round of sale and relocation rumors have not been debunked publicly. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: Despite speculation, Orioles not on the market to be moved or sold," 15 Aug. 2019 At the construction site, Shell has installed giant tarps to keep the workers dry in the frequent rain, which hit a record last year in Pittsburgh. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "A Giant Factory Rises to Make a Product Filling Up the World: Plastic," 12 Aug. 2019 At the campsite: Keep potatoes dry in an ice cooler until the campfire is ready. Brittany Anas, The Know, "What Colorado’s top chefs cook when they go camping," 12 Aug. 2019 Flat digital printing means the ink dries flat on the paper. Marni Jameson, The Mercury News, "A permanent address warrants a ‘stationery wardrobe’," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Peas and beans are ready for harvest when the pod dries on the plant. oregonlive, "How to save seed from the garden for planting next year," 17 Sep. 2019 The menu includes a 30-day dry-aged porterhouse grilled over almond wood, pork short rib with pineapple, fried artichoke with kimchi aioli and whole sea bream with smoked eggplant. Hadley Tomicki, Los Angeles Times, "Where’s the beef? It’s at American Beauty in Venice," 10 Sep. 2019 Track, front/rear: 64.9/62.4 Curb weight, dry: 3,336 lbs. San Diego Union-Tribune, "2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray debut a moon shot," 23 July 2019 Stumps take special care, as do piles of bone-dry trees cut down in previous thinning operations. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Wet California winter is a boon for skiers and water supply. But it brings a threat: wildfires.," 17 June 2019 Givenchy Encre Interdite 24 Hour Lip Stain, $33, is also a waterproof liquid lip ink that dries in seconds while setting. Alix Strauss, New York Times, "A Little Lip Service," 4 June 2019 After the paint dries, wrap the pins in gauze bandages. Heather Jeffcoat, Woman's Day, "Mummy Bowling," 9 Sep. 2019 This 100 percent natural wax creates a breathable barrier for your pets’ paws that allows perspiration to escape through pads, while providing relief for dry and cracked pads. Nicole Forsyth, The Mercury News, "Dollars and Pets: Paw, nose and ear protection," 5 Sep. 2019 Pat the pork chops dry and spread both sides with the mustard mixture. Sheryl Julian, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: Marinate pork chops with mustard, then grill them beside juicy tomatoes," 15 July 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dry

Adjective, Verb, and Noun

Middle English, from Old English drȳge; akin to Old High German truckan dry, Old English drēahnian to drain

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Statistics for dry

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dry

The first known use of dry was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for dry



English Language Learners Definition of dry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having no or very little water or liquid
: no longer wet
: having no rain or little rain



English Language Learners Definition of dry (Entry 2 of 2)

: to remove water or moisture from (something or someone) : to make (something or someone) dry
: to make plates, dishes, pots, etc., dry by rubbing them with a towel
: to become dry


\ ˈdrī How to pronounce dry (audio) \
drier; driest

Kids Definition of dry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not wet or moist Are the clothes dry?
2 : having little or no rain a dry climate
3 : not being in or under water dry land
4 : having little natural moisture a dry throat
5 : no longer liquid or sticky The paint is dry.
6 : containing no liquid a dry creek
7 : not giving milk a dry cow
8 : not producing desired results a dry spell
9 : not producing a wet substance from the body a dry cough dry sobs
10 : funny but expressed in a serious way He has a dry sense of humor.
11 : uninteresting a dry lecture
12 : not sweet dry wines

Other Words from dry

dryly or drily adverb
dryness noun


dried; drying

Kids Definition of dry (Entry 2 of 2)

: to remove or lose any moisture Help me dry the dishes.


\ ˈdrī How to pronounce dry (audio) \
drier\ ˈdrī(-​ə)r How to pronounce drier (audio) \; driest\ ˈdrī-​əst How to pronounce driest (audio) \

Medical Definition of dry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : marked by the absence or scantiness of secretions, effusions, or other forms of moisture
2 of a cough : not accompanied by the raising of mucus or phlegm


dried; drying

Medical Definition of dry (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make dry

intransitive verb

: to become dry

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More from Merriam-Webster on dry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dry

Spanish Central: Translation of dry

Nglish: Translation of dry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dry

What made you want to look up dry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


suitable to be imparted to the public

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