\ 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 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
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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The city was hot and dry, and the markets were bursting with life. Yewande Komolafe, New York Times, "A Bright, Comforting One-Pot Stew With West African Roots," 22 May 2020 That is, perhaps the workers avoided particularly marshy or wooded sections in favor of drier, clearer, and easier-to-build-upon land. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Is a drunken cow really the reason that Spenard Road is so curvy?," 22 May 2020 With cold winters, hot summers and a dry, windy climate, the area was considered marginal farmland. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "A devastating Dust Bowl heat wave is now more than twice as likely, study says," 21 May 2020 Personal narratives drawn from the historical record furnish intensely vivid accounts of NDEs that can be as instructive as any dry, clinical case report, if not more so. Christof Koch, Scientific American, "What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about the Brain," 19 May 2020 Skies will clear out on Sunday and next week looks warm and dry, with highs in the 80s. Dallas News, "Sun returns on Sunday," 16 May 2020 Prepare the Apple Wash, dry, and core the apples, leaving enough of the core at the base of the apple to contain the filling, which is usually some butter, something sweet, and some warm spices. Patricia S York, Southern Living, "How To Make Delicious, Old-Fashioned Baked Apples," 15 May 2020 When thoroughly dry, place in a resealable bag and use as needed. Justin Ward, ExpressNews.com, "Ask the CIA: Tips for trimming your grocery bill," 14 May 2020 In the film adaptation, Perlman, played by Timothée Chalamet, is seen popping his head out of a glistening body of water, whipping his floppy curls dry, his gold Star of David necklace hanging out of his mouth. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "The Surprising Allure Of Male Jewellery," 6 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those ruts dried and created a bumpy, unpleasant experience for motorists. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Is a drunken cow really the reason that Spenard Road is so curvy?," 22 May 2020 If left to flower, the plant will produce a large purple thistle that can be dried and used in arrangements. oregonlive, "How to grow artichokes — ornamental or edible — in Oregon gardens," 16 May 2020 Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "Cheddar, Bacon, and Chive Quick Bread," 20 Apr. 2020 Set on a plate to dry and immediately add sprinkles before the glaze sets. Leena Trivedi-grenier, SFChronicle.com, "How I cooked my way out of Indian Impostor Syndrome," 17 Apr. 2020 Not surprisingly, staple crops are also sought after, such as beans that can be dried and consumed later, Haga said. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Seed companies can't keep up as more Americans turn to growing their own food," 14 Apr. 2020 Some inmates reported having to use the same towel to bathe, dry their hands and clean their cells. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for April 1: Coronavirus, census, prisons, election, Venezuela," 1 Apr. 2020 But that will also dry most food out, and isn’t necessary for every meal. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Worried about coronavirus on your food? 165 degrees is universal safe cooking temperature, but not often necessary," 17 Mar. 2020 Players grumbled that the grass dried and hardened as the season progressed, causing the ball to bounce too high and roll too fast. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Artificial Turf Strikes Back in Baseball," 10 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now, this should be fun — albeit similar to watching paint dry. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "The slowest two minutes in sports? This official 2020 Kentucky Derby race features turtles," 30 Apr. 2020 Then there were the ideas that revolved around using the fingertips to gently push lashes upward as the mascara dries. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, "You Can Still Safely Curl Your Lashes Without a Lash Curler," 22 Apr. 2020 After the paint dries, use painter’s tape to lay out a pattern of equal-size squares; then, use a darker paint color for the second coat. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Restore a Concrete Patio," 1 Apr. 2020 Let the brush head air-dry separately from the handle overnight. Marci Robin, Allure, "The Best Way to Clean Your Clarisonic, According to Experts," 28 Mar. 2020 Submerge in cold water, soak for a few minutes, and then drain, rinse again, drain again, and then spin them until dry. Martha Holmberg, The Denver Post, "How to push fresh herbs beyond the garnish: Use with abundance and abandon," 15 July 2019 It's made with hydrating beta-glucan, soothing panthenol, and restoring vitamin E to nourish dry, irritated, post-breakout skin. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Hero Cosmetics Is Giving Away Acne Kits to Frontline Responders," 6 Apr. 2020 How to reduce dark under-eye circles How to care for dry, cracked heels Best dandruff shampoos How to heal dry, chapped lips The best sunscreens for kids Want more tips like these? NBC News, "The best way to wash your face, according to dermatologists," 9 Mar. 2020 Who wouldn't want a manicure that lasts and last, stays shiny, and dries in seconds flat? Jenna Rosenstein, Allure, "Ultimate Gel Manicure Guide: Risks, Benefits, & How Long They Really Last," 21 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for dry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dry

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for dry

How to pronounce dry (audio)

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

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