\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective High pressure over the area until Saturday night will keep most of the forecast region dry, the weather service said. oregonlive, "Portland metro Saturday weather: Dry and sunny; high 62," 27 Mar. 2021 Max Kepler finally broke his batting dry spell, recording his first hit since March 2 in the Twins' 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Twins' left field job a multiplayer battle; five players cut," 27 Mar. 2021 These dry-erase notes also have earned a 4.3-star rating from more than 3,000 Amazon reviews. Rebecca Norris, USA TODAY, "15 desk accessories that make working from home easier," 27 Mar. 2021 The beef at Ada’s is all prime and dry-aged, a process that imbues the steaks with a subtle mineral tang. Washington Post, "A Potomac view meets polished cooking at Ada’s on the River in Alexandria," 26 Mar. 2021 Fast, dry winds that prompted PG&E to turn off electricity for hundreds of thousands of households beginning Oct. 26, 2019, resulted in 422 cases of power line damage that would have likely caused a fire, according to Technosylva. J.d. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, "PG&E's October 2019 shut-offs may have stopped 3 million acres from burning, analysis says," 26 Mar. 2021 Some can even be too harsh, since your neck skin is often more naturally dry than your face. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "This Tightening Neck Cream Is a Splurge, But Ageless Women Swear It's a Literal Antiaging Lifesaver," 25 Mar. 2021 Flames somtimes reached feet into the air as dry tall grass was lit with a deisel torch. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "Why they burned the Houston Arboretum," 25 Mar. 2021 Long scoring droughts like the six-minute, 20-second dry spell Wednesday were common this season. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "UCLA tries to keep early NCAA tournament exit in perspective," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Let the dishes air dry completely before using again. New York Times, "How to Get Your Family Through an Extreme Weather Event," 19 Feb. 2021 If your window screen looks especially grimy, pop it out and wash with hot, sudsy water and a soft brush, then rinse and let dry before putting it back. Lauren Smith Mcdonough, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Clean Windows, According to Our Cleaning Lab," 20 Jan. 2021 To conceal the gift inside, paint the jar on the outside and let dry completely. Kate Flynn, Sunset Magazine, "3 Easy, Sustainable, and Last-Minute-Friendly Gift Wrap Ideas," 21 Dec. 2020 Clean the frosted glass globe ornaments ($14 for nine, Target) with rubbing alcohol; let dry. Lauren Hedrick, Better Homes & Gardens, "Turn Inexpensive Glass Globes Into Colorful Ornaments in Just Two Steps," 19 Nov. 2020 Tiny But Effective Works with disposable pads to dry sweep, damp mop, or wet mop hardwood, tile, and stone. Popular Science, "Best robot mops: Shine your floors without lifting a finger," 15 Mar. 2021 The quiet dryer is designed to quickly dry hair while protecting it from prolonged heat damage. Rebecca Norris, USA TODAY, "25 of the most popular things you can buy at Nordstrom," 11 Mar. 2021 Engineered to dry hair faster, Tineco’s MODA ONE hairdryer has smart sensors that detect moisture levels in hair, making automatic adjustments to the heat and airflow to speed up drying time and prevent damage. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "New and Notable: Latest from Jupiter, Philips, Rails and more," 14 Dec. 2020 There’s a perception that fresh pasta is inherently superior to dry pasta; Italians don’t agree. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Secrets to achieving the perfect pasta pairing," 2 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Meredith Deeds Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "The right vinegar and the best technique for making a delicious vinegar chicken," 3 Mar. 2021 Down 49-25 at the half after a three-minute dry spell, Minnesota needed desperately to jump-start its offense. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland women’s basketball team strengthens Big Ten lead with 94-62 rout of Minnesota," 20 Feb. 2021 Each hair dryer was tested at least three times, including a full blowout, rough dry and combo of the two. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "The best hair dryers of 2021," 20 Jan. 2021 As seen on Shark Tank, this unisex dry-up comes in four neutral colors—black, gunmetal, navy, and olive—and is made from a supersoft French terry. Ariel Wodarcyk, Field & Stream, "Stay Warm and Store Your Stuff in This Hoodie-Turned-Backpack," 23 Nov. 2020 As a result, fires raged for nearly two months last year across the dry-forest Chiquitania region, leading to the irreparable loss of some eight thousand square miles of virgin forest, and the destruction of fauna. Alma Guillermoprieto, The New York Review of Books, "Bolivia’s Tarnished Savior," 5 Nov. 2020 The fate of the Tai’s Til 4, which has been open near the corner of Ashland Avenue and Addison Street since 1961, is in the balance on Tuesday as people who live nearby consider whether to vote the precinct dry, the Tribune’s John Byrne writes. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, "The Spin: Lightfoot argues again that bars and restaurants aren’t driving COVID-19 spread | Chicago’s security plan for Election Day unrest | Foxx-O’Brien nearly tied — in money race," 30 Oct. 2020 Rinse then pat the chicken dry, including the cavity, with several sheets of paper towels. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Want a dish that keeps on giving? Roast a chicken.," 23 Sep. 2020 The Diamondbacks’ lineup, which had opened the year with a two-week dry spell, appeared to be awakening the past few days. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Diamondbacks lose to Giants as bats fall silent again," 29 Aug. 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

30 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for dry



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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dry

Nglish: Translation of dry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dry for Arabic Speakers

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