\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Currently, two-thirds of California is considered to be in at least some degree of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Rain, snow in California forecast — though climate experts warn of deepening drought," 5 Nov. 2020 This ability to power down or go dormant through periods of drought is one strategy desert plants have adopted in order to survive St. George’s infamous hot and dry spells. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah scientists get dirty to save threatened cactus," 31 Oct. 2020 The latter was during a period of drought for much of Texas, when wildfires burned across the state. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "5 degrees? In Houston?!? And other wild weather extremes from H-Town history," 30 Oct. 2020 But an extra three decades of drought, trees being killed by bugs, and vegetation growth in forests has resulted in much larger and more unruly wildfires. Amanda Monthei, The Atlantic, "The West’s Best Offense Against Wildfires Is Failing," 28 Oct. 2020 While an extended period of extreme drought can stop Old Faithful altogether, less dramatic swings in climate can still influence eruption frequency. Mike Koshmrl, chicagotribune.com, "Study: Climate change could interrupt Yellowstone geysers," 26 Oct. 2020 In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl was caused by years of severe drought and featured dust storms up to 1,000 miles long. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Are the Great Plains Headed for Another Dust Bowl?," 23 Oct. 2020 Australia's most recent bushfire season was one of its worst ever, killing 34 people and destroying nearly 3,000 homes, after years of drought left bushlands unusually dry. Reuters, CNN, "Drones to drop seeds to boost koala gum tree numbers after devastating Australia bushfires," 20 Oct. 2020 Colorado remains under varying levels of drought, with officials saying that dry conditions and high winds causing any fires that start to rapidly spread. Fox News, "Colorado wildfires rage as blaze incinerates dozens of mountain homes, ranks among state's costliest fires," 20 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about drought

Time Traveler for drought

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for drought

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Drought.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drought. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for drought


How to pronounce drought (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!