1 of 2


dry-rotted; dry-rotting; dry-rots

transitive verb

: to affect with dry rot

intransitive verb

: to become affected with dry rot

dry rot

2 of 2


: a decay of seasoned timber caused by fungi that consume the cellulose of wood leaving a soft skeleton which is readily reduced to powder
: a fungal rot of plant tissue in which the affected areas are dry and often firmer than normal or more or less mummified
: a fungus causing dry rot
: decay from within caused especially by resistance to new forces

Examples of dry-rot in a Sentence

Noun The windowsill was badly damaged by dry rot. Dry rot had eaten away part of the beam.
Recent Examples on the Web
Decades of wind and rain rolling in from the North Atlantic Ocean had left the 1920s house suffering from damp and both wet and dry rot. Ruth Bloomfield, wsj.com, 9 May 2023 On June 16, 2015, a fifth-floor balcony at a Berkeley apartment building collapsed, killing seven people, allegedly due to weakening by severe dry rot. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Apr. 2023 Reduce the incidence of dry rot, which mummifies stored potatoes, by keeping the fleshy roots at 55 to 60 degrees. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 29 Mar. 2023 The cost of a project involving risks of substantial hidden damage (dry rot or termite, for example) may be very difficult for contractors to estimate and could drive up the bid price. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Jan. 2022 The gigantic Goodyear tires are showing signs of dry rot, and there are other signs of corrosion, but this amazing piece of history is in solid shape for a nearly 100-year-old vehicle. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 8 Feb. 2023 Faulty wiring, asbestos, and dry rot are just a few less-than-ideal surprises. House Beautiful, 30 Dec. 2022 The doors facing the outside of my condo (original doors) have extensive dry rot. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Apr. 2022 Inspect the wood for dry rot by looking for spore dust, fruiting bodies of fungus, or a lingering damp or musty smell. Timothy Dale, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dry-rot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1870, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of dry-rot was in 1795

Dictionary Entries Near dry-rot

Cite this Entry

“Dry-rot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry-rot. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

dry rot

: decay of dried timber in which the cellulose of wood is used for food by fungi leaving a soft skeleton that easily crumbles to powder
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