\ ˈdrau̇t How to pronounce drought (audio) \
variants: or less commonly drouth \ ˈdrau̇th How to pronounce drouth (audio) \

Definition of drought

1 : a period of dryness especially when prolonged specifically : one that causes extensive damage to crops or prevents their successful growth resistant to drought
2 : a prolonged or chronic shortage or lack of something expected or desired a drought of creativity

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Other Words from drought

droughtiness \ ˈdrau̇-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce droughtiness (audio) \ noun
droughty \ ˈdrau̇-​tē \ adjective

Examples of drought in a Sentence

The drought caused serious damage to crops. a period of drought that lasted several years

Recent Examples on the Web

In the 1970s, favorites won six of 10 Derbys, but that was followed by a 20-year drought without the top betting choice taking the Run for the Roses. Jim Chairusmi, WSJ, "Who Will Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby?," 4 May 2019 Conflicts exacerbated by drought, heat, and storms are a major concern for defense planners. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Hurricane Michael showed how woefully unprepared the military is for extreme weather," 15 Oct. 2018 The federal Bureau of Land Management — which oversees vast expanses of public land, mostly in the West — says the problem facing wild horses stems from overpopulation aggravated by severe drought. Fox News, "Drought forces emergency measures for US West's wild horses," 23 July 2018 For the Fed, the nearest parallel may be an oil price shock caused by some geopolitical event, such as those that took place in the 1970s, or a food price spike caused by a drought. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "There Isn’t Much the Fed Can Do to Ease the Pain of a Trade War," 5 July 2018 Dee Zee officials said the arrangement was partly motivated by Iowa's worker drought, and partly by its desire to attract workers who will stay with the company. Danielle Paquette, chicagotribune.com, "Americans with disabilities are finding new leverage in a tight job market," 21 June 2018 Already, California is besieged by drought, while citizens in South Africa’s Cape Town try to push back Day Zero, the day the city runs out of water. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Scientists are harvesting water by building fog harps and zapping the air," 8 June 2018 In 2004, alarmed by the baby drought, the government began offering subsidies for IVF, which is not available under the public health-care system. The Economist, "No country resorts to IVF more than Japan—or has less success," 24 May 2018 With variable snowfall and intense wildfires worsened by the drought in the Sierra Nevada, this region is showcasing the effects of climate change, yet climate-friendly legislation is absent from Amodei’s office. Jake Bullinger, Outside Online, "Politicians, Listen Up: Outdoor Rec Brings Big Money," 20 Apr. 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for drought

Middle English, from Old English drūgath, from drūgian to dry up; akin to Old English drȳge dry — more at dry

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Dictionary Entries near drought





drought spot



Statistics for drought

Last Updated

25 May 2019

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Time Traveler for drought

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

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More Definitions for drought



English Language Learners Definition of drought

: a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain


\ ˈdrau̇t How to pronounce drought (audio) \

Kids Definition of drought

: a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain

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Comments on drought

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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