\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The brand’s signature Climalite moisture-wicking technology is designed to keep your feet dry and cool and have all-over cushioning for support. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "This Kohl's flash sale on men's socks, underwear and more will save you a bundle," 2 Mar. 2021 This anorak coat is designed to be lightweight and water-resistant to keep your dog as dry as possible on those rainy days. NBC News, "Best March sales 2021: How to find the best deals this spring," 2 Mar. 2021 Some suspect Raisi might prefer to keep his powder dry for a tilt at becoming the next Supreme Leader, after the ailing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dies. Dominic Dudley, Forbes, "Iran’s Next President Is Almost Certain To Be A Hardliner, Making Biden’s Outreach To Tehran Tougher," 24 Feb. 2021 The waterproof gloves also have long cuffs generously cut to fit over a parka sleeve to keep your forearms dry, and have wrist and cuff closures, too. Field & Stream, "Best Hunting Gloves for Bowhunting, Bird Hunting, Duck Hunting, and More," 24 Feb. 2021 The Federal Emergency Management Agency says to place these generators outdoors and away from windows, keep them dry and properly grounded and never plug them into a wall outlet or main electrical panel. New York Times, "How to Get Your Family Through an Extreme Weather Event," 19 Feb. 2021 This would theoretically end the need to actively pump any water to keep the golf course dry, but creating that pathway means there won't be enough room for 18 holes anymore, Schroeder explained. Susan Du, Star Tribune, "Divided Minneapolis Park Board panel approves cutting Hiawatha Golf Course to nine holes," 18 Feb. 2021 Finally, silk is breathable and, according to Lexie Sachs, Associate Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab, silk fibers can help to regulate your temperature by wicking away moisture to keep you dry and cool. Beth Janes, Good Housekeeping, "Silk Is Here to Help Your Skin (and Hair, and Sleep...)," 17 Feb. 2021 Keep them dry with good boots and waterproof gloves. Jeff Gustafson, Outdoor Life, "7 Tips for Catching Big Cold-Weather Bass," 6 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dirty feeders should be thoroughly washed with soap and water, and allowed to dry before being rehung. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, "Feeding birds is good for you, and them (if you clean your feeders)," 2 Feb. 2021 Drain in the colander, and then set the noodles flat on a clean cloth towel or several layers of paper towels to dry completely. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Classic Lasagna alla Bolognese," 2 Feb. 2021 Much like the American people at large, who got $1,200 checks (if anything) and a pat on the rear for nine months of financial hell, the industry is being left out to dry by those who have the power to help it. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "A total restaurant apocalypse is coming. But it’s not inevitable," 7 Dec. 2020 Imagine setting your laundry out to dry on a hot day versus a cool day. Kimberly Wood, The Conversation, "What makes hurricanes stall, and why is that so hard to forecast?," 24 Sep. 2020 Due to its use of coarse sand, though, medium-bed mortar takes significantly longer to dry than thinset: up to 72 hours. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "Quick-Setting," 14 Sep. 2020 Sleeping bags with synthetic insulation are usually a little cheaper, a little more durable, and easier to dry than down bags (but are heavier and less warm). Adrienne So, Wired, "16 Labor Day Camping Deals to Help You Escape to the Woods," 3 Sep. 2020 This repellent was also extremely greasy and took a while to dry. Kai Burkhardt, CNN Underscored, "The best bug sprays of 2020," 20 Aug. 2020 As a kid, Vanessa Sheffield was only allowed to dry at her family's car wash. Mykal Mceldowney, The Indianapolis Star, "The story behind Swancy's Auto Laundry, that bright blue car wash downtown," 20 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Got to go where the people who do the dry-cleaning are. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "COVID-19 shakes up San Antonio couple’s dry-cleaning business," 13 Aug. 2020 My own canal madness was the idée fixe that to get to the bottom of the canals was to get to the bottom of Phoenix — an act best accomplished during dry-up. Longreads, "The Ancient Waterways of Phoenix, Arizona," 10 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dry

Time Traveler for dry

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for dry

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!