\ 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

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 Many users consider the fast-absorbing balm their go-to cure for extremely dry, chapped lips. Claudia Fisher, Health.com, "This Jack Black Lip Balm Heals Cracked Lips in Just One Day, According to Shoppers," 13 Nov. 2019 Similar to how a receding glacier leaves signs of where ice used to be, ghost forests represent where dry land used to be. Tik Root, Time, "Ghost Forests Are Visceral Examples of the Advance of Climate Change," 7 Oct. 2019 New activities this year include a demonstration for Barn Hunt, the new trendy dog sport that tasks pooches to use their scent-tracking skills, and Urban Mushing with dogs on dry land instead of snow. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "Ballet isn’t for boys? Don’t tell these Silicon Valley guys," 17 Sep. 2019 Just kidding, stay for the details: an 8-ounce dry-aged chuck patty topped with applewood bacon, arugula, onions caramelized in bacon fat, and both Gruyère and blue cheese, all piled on an oblong French roll. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, "In the Age of Smash Burger Supremacy, the Office Burger Still Reigns," 6 Nov. 2019 Reyes’ role is on dry land, interacting with smaller groups of diners. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Spiel appeal: Two Disney World cast members named top skippers," 6 Nov. 2019 Chilly but dry weather is expected to stay across the Front Range into next week, with highs generally in the 40s and 50s over the first week of November. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Denver finishes with its snowiest October in 22 years," 1 Nov. 2019 In this view, the strivers coursing through the capital’s halls of power represent the entire population; luxury, status and predictability rule in the kitchen, and the best meal to be had is a dry-aged steak. Brett Anderson, New York Times, "10 Reasons Washington Is a Great Restaurant City," 29 Oct. 2019 What to eat: Go still for some of the best meat preparations around — herb-butter sauteed buffalo filet mignon, dry-aged beef ribeye and a mixed game plate with elk, buffalo and quail. Josie Sexton, The Know, "Colorado’s 13 most iconic, historic restaurants and what to order when you’re there," 23 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The suspension that formed was then chilled before being freeze-dried. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "The world’s best drink cooler may come from pineapple scraps," 29 Oct. 2019 Deadpanning the audience dry with Norm Macdonald-esque precision. SI.com, "8 Footballers Who Absolutely Have to Host Saturday Night Live," 9 Oct. 2019 When that matter dries and is stirred into the air, people can inhale it and be exposed to the virus. Ramona Sentinel, "Julian brush mouse tests positive for hantavirus," 4 Oct. 2019 While Gonzalez and others soaked up the sun’s rays, most people, like Luis Ramirez, stayed dried and danced in their seats as Elvis and his band jammed out. Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader, "Seniors ‘boogie-woogie’ at Rock-a-Hula pool party," 20 Sep. 2019 Hot glue the feet to the base of an empty cosmetic jar, let dry, and fill the jar, with water tinted with yellow food color. Ingela Ratledge, Woman's Day, "Carnival Sideshow-Themed Invitations," 9 Sep. 2019 No way to dry your hands and the handwashing sink by the meat roasting station. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Two-hundred rodent poops. Roaches in a microwave. Why these restaurants failed inspection," 4 June 2019 The leaves are hand-picked to retain their whole leaves and flowers and dried at low temperatures to preserve the natural oils and freshness for vibrant flavors. Sheryl Jean, Dallas News, "A small organic herbal tea farm flourishes in Northern California wine country," 28 Aug. 2019 And while no sign is posted anywhere, two hanging baskets with dried, dead plants remain strung up outside the windows. Sameer Rao, baltimoresun.com, "Beleaguered Baltimore Eagle, historic leather bar and LGBTQ staple, closes again," 21 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sad fish that’s past its prime will be somewhat matte and dry, sometimes falling apart a bit at the seams. Emma Wartzman, Bon Appétit, "Can You Actually Swap Fish In a Recipe?," 1 Aug. 2019 Gentle soap and warm water applied very gently once per day in the shower, then just allow the piercing to air-dry. Lexy Lebsack, refinery29.com, "Everything You Want To Know About Nipple Piercings (& We Mean Everything)," 5 July 2019 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

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

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for dry

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

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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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