\ 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 California has seen multiple fires twice the size of the Carr fire, fueled by dry conditions that can be linked back to climate change. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 18 June 2022 Again, the region will see mostly dry conditions with an easterly wind of 10 mph along the coast. Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel, 17 June 2022 Hot, dry conditions in the Southwest and parts of California last week moved east, with stifling temperatures recorded from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes on Monday. Talal Ansari, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Persistent dry conditions have caused the fires to spread rapidly in Southwest Alaska. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 15 June 2022 Wildfires are continuing in the Southwest amid the heat, igniting due to gusty winds and very dry conditions. Kyla Guilfoil, ABC News, 14 June 2022 Officials were concerned by the hot, dry conditions in much of the Southwest, which could be abetted by thunderstorms Monday in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 13 June 2022 An elevated threat of wildfires in the high desert and mountain areas, triggered by hot, dry conditions and gusty winds, is expected to continue and expand to valley areas next Tuesday, Gomberg said. Teresa Watanabestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 June 2022 Hot, dry conditions were expected to continue Sunday, but a low pressure system moving in from the west could bring favorable conditions and a chance of showers by Monday. Mark Thiessen, ajc, 11 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sun exposure can discolor the finish and dry the wood, while snow and rain can lead to warping or rot over time. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 June 2022 Once the grease is off, go over the surfaces again with a cloth or sponge dampened in clean water, then dry with a soft cloth. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, 13 June 2022 The sun can age and damage skin; wind can leave it chapped and dry; and western climates, with a lack of humidity, can remove precious oils from the skin’s surface, leaving it vulnerable. Outside Online, 9 June 2022 Aveeno understands that using highly concentrated, harsh chemicals will dry the skin and leave it looking dull and lifeless. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 June 2022 And while even the best hair dryers on the market can dry your hair from the inside out, the way Zuvi moves air primarily dries the exterior of your hairs, leaving moisture locked inside. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 5 June 2022 To stretch curly hair, or quickly dry straight or wavy hair, the Dyson 2.0 comes with a wide-tooth comb attachment. ELLE, 3 June 2022 Then, allow the bird feeder to air dry completely before filling and putting it back out. Pick up below the feeders. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 2 May 2022 Patrons are encouraged to grow, collect and dry their own garden seeds and to place them in the empty packets provided. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, 25 Apr. 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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Statistics for dry

Last Updated

22 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 29 Jun. 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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