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

Definition of dry

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : free or relatively free from a liquid and especially water Mix the dry ingredients 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
c : dealing in dry goods or other nonperishable items After breakfast, we head to the wet market along Graham Street in Hong Kong. The wet market sells foodstuffs; the adjacent dry market offers clothes, shoes, and other retail items.— Rudy Maxa
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

Other Words from dry


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


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for dry

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of dry in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This year's spring blazes also have destroyed mansions on a California hilltop and chewed through more than 422 square miles (1,100 square kilometers) of tinder-dry northeastern New Mexico. Morgan Lee, BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2022 On the lower end—sub-$30—are delightful bottles whose job is to be crisp, dry, and flavorful. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 13 May 2022 Going with the air-dry option will essentially let the sea salt spray work all on its own. John Thompson, Men's Health, 13 May 2022 Be sure to clean and dry the portafilter — and to purge and wipe down the milk frothing wand, if needed — when you’re done. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, 12 May 2022 Two more days of windy and dangerously bone-dry conditions are predicted before the winds are expected to ease on Friday. Susan Montoya Bryan, ajc, 11 May 2022 This two in one shampoo is ideal for frizzy, dry, and damaged hair. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 The countries of the Sahel, the bone-dry expanse along the Sahara’s southern edge, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad, are among the world’s most unstable. Helen Epstein, The New York Review of Books, 11 May 2022 It's characterized by symptoms including rashes, dry, flakey, and itchy skin, red scaly patches, and raised bumps. Tamim Alnuweiri, Allure, 10 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the biggest contributor to dry skin is simply not moisturizing enough. Jacqueline Kilikita, refinery29.com, 4 May 2022 This is partly thanks to dry air near the ground, which is able to warm quickly. Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2021 Power the blender for 30 to 40 seconds, discard the water, and then rinse the individual parts of the blender in hot water and let air dry. Adria Greenhauff, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Apr. 2022 Plus, the bags are easy to maintain: Just take a wet towel and wipe clean, then let air dry. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 8 Feb. 2022 Apply a thin layer to the entire vase with a silicone spatula and let dry completely. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Apr. 2022 Rinse and let dry completely, because the tiles won’t stick to a damp surface. Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2022 Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape from the lampshade. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 23 Mar. 2021 Take all the herb bunches and wash them, then dry them well. Leyla Shokoohe, The Enquirer, 21 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hanson’s 3 from the wing got ASU’s offense up and going again following a three-minute dry spell where ASU shot 0-for-4 from the field, making way for Loville to her first of three 3-pointers. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 5 Feb. 2022 Gordon Chevrolet in Garden City delivered its first 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV to a customer last week — after an eight-month dry spell. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 7 Apr. 2022 Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Mar. 2022 Keeping the pan dry will keep the steel construction of the spring rust-free and working its sprightly best. Erin Mcdowell, Bon Appétit, 25 Jan. 2022 In Arizona, the leaders of the Colorado River Indian Tribes have also been leaving some of their farmland dry in a similar deal. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Still, one of the greatest benefits of spending time around other couples, especially as someone going through a romantic dry spell, is the ability to observe—and even learn from—their relationships yourself. Liam Hess, Vogue, 10 Dec. 2021 However, this Steak Locker solves those problems with a dedicated dry-aging chamber that keeps the temperature and humidity at a constant level, for safe and effective aging. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, 11 Nov. 2021 Spray glass cleaner on one glove, and keep the other dry. Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for dry

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

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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 dry (audio) \; driest\ ˈdrī-​əst How to pronounce dry (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

More from Merriam-Webster on dry

Nglish: Translation of dry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dry for Arabic Speakers


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