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

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Other Words from irrigate

irrigator \ ˈir-​ə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce irrigator (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 Upon irrigating her eye, the patient ended up removing two transparent, moving roundworms. Maggie O'neill,, "A Second Case of ‘Cattle Eye Worm’ Has Been Reported in the US. Here’s What That Means," 7 Nov. 2019 Unlike forests, most vineyards are irrigated regularly, keeping that inner tissue moist. Esther Mobley,, "Vineyards can help stop fires. They did in the Alexander Valley," 29 Oct. 2019 After the grapes have been picked, the vineyard needs power to process them and irrigate. Ivan Penn, New York Times, "California Endures More Blackouts; PG&E Tower Gets Scrutiny in Fire," 24 Oct. 2019 At the end of the drought, the researchers will perform one last tracer experiment, irrigating the deep soil with water enriched in an isotope of hydrogen. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Unprecedented drought in an artificial ecosystem may reveal how rainforests will cope with climate change," 16 Oct. 2019 The cabin will also have additional eco-friendly amenities, like graywater recycling (using bath and shower water to irrigate the surrounding land). Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Cabin Was Built for Mars—But You Can Test it Out in Upstate New York," 4 Sep. 2019 The death of the twin-tunnels project hasn’t stopped Central Valley farmers’ efforts to send more water south to irrigate their fields at the expense of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: Trump’s assault on Delta threatens Bay Area water supply," 27 Aug. 2019 Most of the fodder for cattle and other livestock grows naturally and is not irrigated, so insufficient rainfall lowers its quantity, too, resulting in a loss of animal productivity, Sardana said. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "India’s farmers are getting desperate over a 33% shortfall in June rains," 30 June 2019 The current owners installed a 1,000-foot-deep well to irrigate the grounds. Real Estate, "Listed: Manchester-by-the-Sea mansion had a siren, vaults, and guards to protect liquor stash," 11 Sep. 2019

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of irrigate was in 1615

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Statistics for irrigate

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Irrigate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for irrigate


How to pronounce irrigate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of irrigate

: to supply (something, such as land) with water by using artificial means (such as pipes)
medical : to clean (a wound or a part of the body) with flowing liquid (such as water)


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
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 irrigation (audio) \ noun

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