\ 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

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

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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 California’s McKinney Fire has destroyed nearly 90 houses and is only 30% contained a week after breaking out in the Klamath National Forest, with hot and dry conditions expected to continue through the weekend. Susannah Cullinane, CNN, 6 Aug. 2022 The water level in the Charles River is too low, thanks to the hot and dry weather that has resulted in drought conditions across the state. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, 3 Aug. 2022 The National Weather Service is forecasting hot and dry conditions. Remington Miller, Arkansas Online, 2 Aug. 2022 Certain conditions can lead us to become dehydrated faster, such as air travel, hot or dry conditions, having a cold or flu, intense exercise, being a heavy sweater and alcohol consumption. Good Housekeeping, 1 Aug. 2022 Hot and dry weather in Spain, Italy and parts of the U.S. will lower rice production next year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, which could raise rice prices. David Harrison, WSJ, 31 July 2022 Thick smoke from a nearby wildfire had turned the air especially hot and dry. Kelly Klein, Outside Online, 29 July 2022 Officials and experts have attributed the quick spread to hot and dry conditions, as well as vegetation that could have helped fuel the flames. Paulina Villegas, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 Hot and dry conditions, along with gusty winds, have prevailed for weeks in Greece. Demetris Nellas, ajc, 24 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Simply pop slices into the toaster or a 300° F oven for a few minutes to dry them out, then proceed with the grinding and toasting steps. Go appliance-free. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 July 2022 The Kilnsman is named after the art of kilning the barley that will become whisky, or heating it to stop germination and dry it out. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 27 July 2022 Run the knife under hot water and dry it after each slice. Jessie Sheehan, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 After using your board, wash and dry it, then slick the surface with this stuff. Tiffany Hopkins, Bon Appétit, 13 July 2022 Once the wash cycle is done, remove your yoga mat from the washer promptly, and hang it up to dry. Patricia Shannon, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 July 2022 To prolong the life of your magnet, use a plastic scraper and duct tape to remove magnetic bits, and then clean and dry it to prevent it from rusting. Ben Demchak, Popular Mechanics, 3 June 2022 This nightgown also comes with adjustable straps for a more customizable look and is machine washable — just make sure to wash it on a cold gentle cycle and hang it to dry. Grace Wu, Good Housekeeping, 19 Apr. 2022 Just don’t get caught watching the paint dry with these recommendations, as these wines and tickets will disappear quickly. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 23 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the case of Ethereum, its Goerli testnet will undergo the merge and shift to proof-of-stake between August 6 and 12, serving as a final dry-run before the mainnet seeks to achieve the same thing in September. Taylor Locke, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 More than 800 square miles of the river have been exposed due to the dry-up, according to experts. ABC News, 18 July 2022 The towels passed the hand washing test with just a few pats on the hands and absorbed a bowl of water with ease, ensuring a drip-free dry. Alyssa Brascia, PEOPLE.com, 11 July 2022 This hair dryer by BaByliss features nano titanium technology to help give your hair a quick dry and a long-lasting sleek finish. Rebecca Carhart, Travel + Leisure, 21 June 2022 The two didn’t spend much time in dry-dock, however. Gary Graff, cleveland, 11 Jan. 2022 Hanson’s 3 from the wing got ASU’s offense up and going again following a three-minute dry spell where ASU shot 0-for-4 from the field, making way for Loville to her first of three 3-pointers. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 5 Feb. 2022 Gordon Chevrolet in Garden City delivered its first 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV to a customer last week — after an eight-month dry spell. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 7 Apr. 2022 Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for dry

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

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Statistics for dry

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dry. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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

More from Merriam-Webster on dry

Nglish: Translation of dry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dry for Arabic Speakers


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