Meaning of DRY in English

I. dry 1 S2 W2 /draɪ/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative drier , superlative driest )

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: dryge ]

1 . NOT WET without water or liquid inside or on the surface OPP wet :

I need to change into some dry clothes.

Make sure that the surface is clean and dry before you start to paint.

You should store disks in a cool, dry place.

shake/rub/wipe etc something dry

Jean rubbed her hair dry.

The path is dry as a bone (=very dry) .

⇨ ↑ bone dry

2 . WEATHER having very little rain or ↑ moisture OPP wet ⇨ arid :

The weather was hot and dry.

Eastern areas should stay dry tomorrow.

the dry season

These plants do not grow well in dry conditions (=when there is not much rain) .

a prolonged dry spell (=period)

3 . dry mouth/skin/lips/hair etc without enough of the liquid or oil that is normally in your mouth, skin etc ⇨ parched :

His heart was pounding and his mouth was dry.

Mary has dry, sensitive skin.

a shampoo for dry hair

She licked her dry lips.

4 . run/go dry if a lake, river etc runs dry, all the water gradually disappears, especially because there has been no rain:

The river ran dry last summer.

5 . HUMOUR someone with a dry sense of humour says funny and clever things while seeming to be serious:

He had a delightfully dry sense of humour.

6 . BORING boring, very serious, and without humour:

In schools, science is often presented in a dry and uninteresting manner.

a dry debate on policies

7 . dry cough a cough which does not produce any ↑ phlegm

8 . dry wine/sherry etc wine etc that is not sweet:

a glass of dry white wine

9 . WITHOUT ALCOHOL not drinking alcohol, or not allowing any alcohol to be sold:

Paula had been dry for a year before she started drinking again.

Kuwait’s a dry country.

10 . VOICE showing no emotion when you speak:

‘Good evening gentlemen,’ he said, in a dry voice.

11 . dry bread/toast bread etc eaten on its own without anything such as butter or ↑ jam spread on it

12 . THIRSTY informal thirsty

13 . not a dry eye in the house used to say that everyone was crying because something was very sad – often used humorously

—dryness noun [uncountable]

⇨ ↑ drip-dry , ↑ dry rot , ⇨ home and dry at ↑ home 2 (6), ⇨ leave somebody high and dry at ↑ high 2 (5), ⇨ ↑ dryly

• • •


■ nouns

▪ dry grass

There had been no rain and the grass was very dry.

▪ dry clothes

I had no dry clothes to change into.

▪ dry land (=not the sea)

It was good to get off the ship onto dry land again.

▪ dry ingredients (=the things in a recipe that are not liquid)

Add the eggs and milk to the dry ingredients.

■ verbs

▪ keep dry

We managed to keep dry inside an old farm building.

▪ get dry (=become dry)

Come inside and get dry.

▪ shake/rub/wipe etc something dry

He wiped his hands dry with a handkerchief.

▪ towel something dry (=use a towel to dry something)

Towel your hair dry before using a hairdryer.

■ phrases

▪ dry as a bone/bone dry (=completely dry)

These plants need some water – they’re dry as a bone.

• • •


▪ dry having very little moisture, or no longer wet:

How do plants survive in hot dry conditions?


My mouth feels dry.


The clothes should be dry.


The ground was bone dry (=completely dry) .

▪ parched completely dry – used about land, or about someone’s lips, throat, skin etc:

The earth was so parched that there were huge cracks in it.


parched lips

▪ arid extremely dry because of lack or rain and therefore difficult for growing crops:

the arid landscape of the Danakil desert


an arid mountain region

II. dry 2 S2 W3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle dried , present participle drying , third person singular dries ) [intransitive and transitive]

1 . to make something dry, or to become dry:

Mrs Brown hung the washing on the line to dry.

He was drying his hair with a towel.

Mary dried her hands.

Leave the first coat of paint to dry before adding another.

She stood up and dried her eyes (=wiped away her tears) .

dry yourself

He quickly dried himself on the thin towel.

2 . ( also dry up British English ) to rub plates, dishes etc dry with a cloth after they have been washed:

You wash and I’ll dry.

Shall I dry up these glasses?

⇨ ↑ cut and dried , ↑ dried

dry off phrasal verb

to become dry or to make something dry, especially on the surface:

We swam in the sea, then stretched out on the sand to dry off.

dry something ↔ off

He dried the camera off, hoping it would still work.

dry out phrasal verb

1 . to become completely dry or to make something completely dry, especially after it has been very wet:

In summer, water the plants regularly and never let the soil dry out.

dry something ↔ out

The kitchen was flooded and it took ages to dry it out.

2 . dry (somebody) out to stop drinking alcohol after you have become an ↑ alcoholic , or to make someone do this:

He’s been drying out at a private clinic.

The hospital dried Michael out and sent him home.

dry up phrasal verb

1 . COME TO AN END if a supply of something dries up, it comes to an end and no more is available:

Foreign investment may dry up.

The work soon dried up.

2 . RIVER/LAKE ETC if something such as a river dries up, the water in it disappears:

Across central and west Texas, waterholes and wells have dried up.

dry something ↔ up

Taking too much water for household use is drying up the river.

3 . STOP TALKING if someone dries up, they stop talking:

‘It was -’ She dried up again.

Everyone became embarrassed and conversation dried up.

4 . PLATES/DISHES ETC British English to rub plates, dishes etc dry with a cloth after they have been washed

dry something ↔ up

I’ll just dry up these mugs and we can have a coffee.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.