\ 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 Conditions were forecast to be dry with temperatures in the 50s on Thursday, but forecasters said winds could reach 25 mph, with occasional gusts up to 40 mph. Alex Johnson, NBC News, "Heavy snow and wind could slam the brakes on Thanksgiving travel," 27 Nov. 2019 The road was dry and weather was clear at the time of the wreck, troopers said. Josh Snyder, Arkansas Online, "Pedestrian, driver killed in separate crashes on Interstate 40," 26 Nov. 2019 The basin would be dry under normal conditions and is designed for a water level up to 4.7 feet, according to a staff report. Anna Kim, chicagotribune.com, "Developer for planned project at Willow and Pfingsten roads drops residences, adds detention pond and trees," 26 Nov. 2019 Bake until lemon zest is dry but not burnt, about 10 minutes. Diane J. Cho, PEOPLE.com, "Build Your Thanksgiving Menu with These Food & Cocktail Recipes from Your Favorite Celebs," 22 Nov. 2019 The bread cubes need to be really dry, so leave them uncovered for several hours or overnight. oregonlive, "15 Thanksgiving stuffing, dressing recipes to dress up the holiday table," 22 Nov. 2019 Between cooking up endless side dishes, making sure that the turkey isn't dry, steering the conversation away from tense affairs, and cleaning after your guests have left for the evening, there's just so much on your plate to tackle. Rebecca King, USA TODAY, "Ready for Thanksgiving? Make sure you do these 6 things before Thursday," 22 Nov. 2019 If the pan is dry, add stock to help deglaze the pan. Justin Ward, ExpressNews.com, "How to make the perfect gravy for Thanksgiving," 19 Nov. 2019 With the exception of some sleet on Wednesday evening, the week ahead is expected to be dry, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. Tom Mcghee, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: Dry week ahead with temperatures topping 60 by weekend," 5 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rinse turkey under cold water, pat dry and return to the refrigerator for another couple of hours to dry the skin. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Brining: Why it’s the best method for your holiday turkey," 24 Nov. 2019 Researchers determined plants and animals died in northeastern China, for example, as cool, damp forests dried and heated into deserts. Keith Ladzinski, National Geographic, "Will rising seas claim Nasa's Kennedy Space Center?," 20 Nov. 2019 Lap cheong comes in a variety of forms, from fresh and juicy to dried and shriveled (the furthest on the latter end of the spectrum may require a quick soak to bring out its flavor before cooking), but all are extra-fatty and supremely tasty. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Crispy Black Rice and Sweet Chinese Sausage Team Up for the Thanksgiving Side of Our Dreams," 16 Nov. 2019 Doing so will keep food from drying on and keep odors under control. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Use and Load a Dishwasher the Right Way," 13 Nov. 2019 The slivers of beef filling out the khao pad ped (#27a, $9.99) were anything but dry and only complimented the red curry sauce coating the fried rice, which came off mellow at first bite only to deepen in flavor with every forkful. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Thai restaurant excels with top-notch curries and fiery homemade hot sauce," 6 Nov. 2019 The solution is then rinsed off in a water bath (an additional stop-bath step is optional), then the print is redeveloped to restore the black color before being dried and pressed flat. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists unlock the chemical secrets of a 19th-century photography technique," 6 Nov. 2019 The fish, which is split open, dried and salted after it has been caught, is tied to the peninsula’s identity. 1843, "Why bacalhau will always taste like home," 31 Oct. 2019 The nutritious meal packages are made of rice, soy flakes and dried vegetables and come with instructions on how to re-hydrate the meal. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland, "Volunteers pack meals for the hungry at St. Demetrios Church in Rocky River," 21 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's important because once a tree is cut, sap leaks out, dries and seals the wood’s pores, greatly hindering its ability to absorb water. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh Longer," 21 Oct. 2019 For those looking to unwind, the spa program includes five skin-care treatments, two body wraps, a manicure and pedicure, and a shampoo and blow-dry. Ann Abel, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Spas in the U.S. & Around the World: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 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

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 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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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

What made you want to look up dry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


heavy with or as if with moisture

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