xeric

adjective
xe·​ric | \ ˈzir-ik How to pronounce xeric (audio) , ˈzer- How to pronounce xeric (audio) \

Definition of xeric

: characterized by, relating to, or requiring only a small amount of moisture a xeric habitat a xeric plant — compare hydric, mesic

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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.

First Known Use of xeric

1926, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Xeric.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xeric. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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