ir·​ri·​gate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce irrigate (audio) \
irrigated; irrigating

Definition of irrigate

transitive verb

1 : wet, moisten: such as
a : to supply (land, crops, etc.) with water by artificial means irrigating the cotton plants irrigates 20 acres of farmland
b : to flush (a body part) with a stream of liquid irrigate the wound with saline solution the eye was irrigated following chemical exposure
2 : to refresh as if by watering

intransitive verb

: to practice irrigation A tensiometer (soil moisture probe), available at any garden center, helps take the guesswork out of irrigating.The Benicia (California) Herald

Other Words from irrigate

irrigator \ ˈir-​ə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce irrigate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for irrigate


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Examples of irrigate in a Sentence

The surgeon irrigated the wound. if you get the chemical in your eye, irrigate the eye thoroughly with water
Recent Examples on the Web Learn the most effective ways to water a garden of native plants, including tips on when and where to irrigate and the pros and cons of overhead, drip and hand-watering equipment. Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2022 Clean the wounds with mild soap and water; irrigate with water to remove debris. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, 27 May 2022 Padre Dam Municipal Water District customers are eligible for rebates on rain barrels and cisterns that collect rainwater to help irrigate the landscape. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Jan. 2022 In the village, every house has its own pond, where people bathe, wash clothes and draw water to irrigate their vegetable farms. New York Times, 7 Apr. 2022 In the 1800s, the Yowlumne Yokuts used ditches to irrigate crops in their villages, and gathered wild seeds and acorns. Ian James Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2021 Lawmakers debated a flurry of bills during the 2022 General Session addressing everything from the Great Salt Lake to watersheds to how much homeowners irrigate their lawns. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Mar. 2022 The project, which is backed by the World Bank, will help irrigate 26,220 acres, serving more than 23,500 farming families. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Nov. 2021 The city also reuses water to irrigate parks and golf courses. Matt Vasilogambros, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irrigate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of irrigate

1615, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for irrigate

Latin irrigatus, past participle of irrigare, from in- + rigare to water; perhaps akin to Old High German regan rain — more at rain

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Time Traveler for irrigate

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The first known use of irrigate was in 1615

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Irrigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for irrigate


ir·​ri·​gate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce irrigate (audio) \
irrigated; irrigating

Kids Definition of irrigate

1 : to supply (as land) with water by artificial means irrigate crops
2 : to clean with a flow of liquid irrigate a wound


transitive verb
ir·​ri·​gate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce irrigate (audio) \
irrigated; irrigating

Medical Definition of irrigate

: to flush (a body part) with a stream of liquid irrigate the wound with saline to remove debris the eye was irrigated for 10 minutes following chemical exposure

Other Words from irrigate

irrigation \ ˌir-​ə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce irrigate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on irrigate

Nglish: Translation of irrigate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irrigate for Arabic Speakers


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