xe·​ric ˈzir-ik How to pronounce xeric (audio) ˈzer- How to pronounce xeric (audio)
: characterized by, relating to, or requiring only a small amount of moisture
a xeric habitat
a xeric plant
compare hydric, mesic

Did you know?

By the late 1800s, botanists were using the terms xerophyte and xerophytic for plants that were well adapted for survival in dry environments. But some felt the need of a more generic word that included both animals and plants. In 1926 that group proposed using xeric (derived from xēros, the Greek word for "dry") as a more generalized term for either flora or fauna. They further suggested that "xerophytic … be entirely abandoned as useless and misleading." Not everyone liked the idea. In fact, the Ecological Society of America stated that xeric was "not desirable," preferring terms such as arid. Others declared that xeric should refer only to habitats, not to organisms. Scientists used it anyway, and by the 1940s xeric was well documented in scientific literature.

Examples of xeric in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Continue your adventure at the impressive xeric wonderland that is the otherworldly Desert Botanical Garden, which is home to one the most extensive collections of cacti and succulents as well as world-class art and sculpture. Sunset Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 While grass just sits there guzzling water, urban farms could become ultra-efficient by growing food with recycled wastewater, simultaneously feeding residents, cooling neighborhoods, and attracting pollinators—which helps boost diversity, as a xeric landscape might. WIRED, 23 Sep. 2022 Air plants fall into two basic categories: mesic and xeric. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, 9 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'xeric.' 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

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of xeric was in 1926


Dictionary Entries Near xeric

Cite this Entry

“Xeric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xeric. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


xe·​ric ˈzir-ik How to pronounce xeric (audio) ˈzer- How to pronounce xeric (audio)
: requiring little moisture
xeric woodlands
a xeric plant

More from Merriam-Webster on xeric

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