Meaning of DRY in English

I. ˈdrī adjective

( dri·er also dry·er -ī(ə)r, -īə ; dri·est also dry·est -īə̇st)

Etymology: Middle English drie, dry, from Old English drȳge; akin to Old High German truckan, truchan dry, Middle Low German drœge, drēge, Middle Dutch drōge and perhaps to Old Norse draugr dry wood

1. : free or relatively free from water or liquid : not wet or moist: as

a. obsolete : naturally having no moisture — used in ancient and medieval sciences to describe one of the qualities of the four elements; opposed to moist

b. of a sign of the zodiac : having a dry complexion

2. : characterized by loss of water or of life-giving moisture: as

a. : lacking or comparatively free from precipitation and humidity

the path is dusty on a dry day

a dry summer

b. : lacking freshness : withered

c. : anhydrous


a. : not being in or under water : beneficially not having undue moisture or water

dry land

dry clothes

b. : employing no liquid or as little as possible

the dry method of assaying gold

portland cement may be manufactured by dry process or wet process

— compare wet 8

c. : built or constructed without the use of any process that requires water:

(1) : using no mortar

dry masonry

a dry stone wall

(2) : using prefabricated plaster board, composition board, or wood paneling rather than a construction involving plaster or mortar bonding

a dry wall

dry wall construction

d. of breadstuff : served or eaten without butter or milk — now used chiefly of toast without butter

e. of a foodstuff : having the water removed by evaporation : dehydrated ; often : reduced to powder or flakes

f. of natural gas : containing little or no recoverable gasoline or other liquid hydrocarbon

g. of a friction clutch : intended to function without lubrication



(1) : harmfully devoid of water or lubricant

the garden is dry from lack of rain

the machine automatically stops when it runs dry

(2) : thirsty

he felt dry after his walk

b. : marked by the absence of or abstention from alcoholic beverages

it was a dry party but the food was good

a man who had been dry for a dozen years — New York Times Book Review


(1) : containing no uncombined water — used especially of a paint or pigment

(2) : wholly solidified : no longer liquid or sticky — used especially of a coating (as paint) or ink applied to a surface or of the surface so treated; opposed to wet

d. : exclusive of accessories and operating fluids (as lubricant and coolant) — used of the weight of an engine

5. : characterized by exhaustion of a supply of water or other liquid: as

a. of a container or receptacle : depleted of liquid contents : empty

a dry well

the fountain pen ran dry in the middle of a sentence

b. : devoid of running water

a dry ravine

6. of an animal or its udder : not giving milk : not lactating

a dry cow



(1) : not shedding tears

hardly a dry eye at the funeral

(2) : not accompanied by tears

a dry sob

b. : continent of urine

some children learn to stay dry much earlier than others


(1) : marked by the absence or scantiness of secretions, effusions, or other forms of moisture

a dry pleurisy

(2) of a cough : not accompanied by the raising of mucus or phlegm


a. obsolete : free from bloodshed : not causing or accompanied by an effusion of blood

dry war

dry death

b. : designed or executed in practice or planning for the future and lacking some essential (as live ammunition) of the situation being simulated : intended for practice only

dry rehearsal

dry firing


a. : solid as opposed to liquid

dry groceries

dry provisions

dry cargo

b. : slack 6


a. : not manifesting or communicating warmth, responsiveness, sympathy, enthusiasm, or tender feeling whether through natural indifference or studied unconcern : impassive , unemotional , matter-of-fact

under that peculiar sort of dry , blunt manner, I know you have the warmest heart — Jane Austen

she sat there looking dry and indifferent — Lionel Trilling

b. fine art : exhibiting a sharp frigid preciseness of execution : lacking delicate contour in form or easy transition in coloring


a. : not yielding what is expected or desired : not giving satisfaction : barren , sterile , unproductive

a poet who is going through a dry period which he finds frustrating — Rosemary Benét

b. obsolete , of a person : stingy

c. dialect : reserved , aloof

12. : marked by a matter-of-fact manner of expression that seems unconscious or unintentional but is actually ironic, caustic, keen, shrewd, terse — used especially of humor or the person expressing it

his dry humor which made him say the most amusing things and keep his face so absolutely solemn — Eleanor Roosevelt

13. : having no personal inclination, bias, or emotional concern : having clear impartial perception or judgment

ought … to have used the dry light of reason in discussing matters of high morality, politics and religion — Times Literary Supplement

a certain dry spirit of detachment and analysis — Aldous Huxley

14. : dull because lacking in inherent interest and adornment : lacking elements that would lend attractiveness and appeal : uninteresting , wearisome , insipid

in the dryest passages of her historical summaries these delightful descriptions come running to the rescue — Robert Payne

his dry schoolmaster temperament, the hurdy-gurdy monotony of him — William James


a. : having nothing superfluous : lacking embellishment : consisting of essentials only : unadorned , plain , bare

dry simplicity

dry fact

dry formality

b. archaic : paid in actual coin — used of money or fees

c. of a dog : having the skin close fitting especially about the neck and mouth



(1) of beverages : lacking sweetness

(2) of wines and other fermented beverages : having all or most sugar fermented to alcohol : sugarless

dry champagne

dry sauterne

— see sec

b. of mixed drinks : containing only ingredients low or lacking in sugar content

a dry martini

c. : marked by a harsh, rasping, or jarring tone : lacking smooth or liquid sound qualities

a dry rasping voice

a chipping sparrow gives a dry , unmusical trill — W.P.Smith

the dry whisper of winter leaves — Edith Sitwell

this recording of the piano solo is dry and harsh

17. : relating to or favoring the prohibition or drastic regulation and limitation of the manufacture or distribution of alcoholic beverages

dry law

dry agent

dry sentiment

a dry state


arid: arid is usually more extreme than dry. dry suggests freedom from moisture or deficiency of moisture, arid destitution or deprivation of moisture and extreme dryness

not a drop of water could we find, and the arid aspect of the valley as a whole showed only too plainly that the rainfall, on this side of the island at least, must be scant indeed — C.B.Nordhoff & J.N.Hall

dry suggests lack of qualities compelling interest, arid absence of worthwhile, fruitful, or significant, as well as interesting, qualities

a very dry book

the frank elucidation of such a principle, with an aesthetic near to a moral obligation, might imply only bleak and arid results — Holbrook Jackson

Applied to persons, their manner or sayings, dry implies loss of warmth, responsiveness, enthusiasm, or emotion, arid an absence of or incapacity for these

this structural defect might have been overcome — and may still be overcome — if the intellectual leadership were less arid — Barbara Ward

Synonym: see in addition sour .

- not dry behind the ears

II. verb

( dried ; dried ; drying ; dries )

Etymology: Middle English drien, dryen, from Old English drȳgan, from drȳge, adjective

transitive verb

1. : to make dry : to rid of moisture or liquid (as by wiping, rubbing, draining, squeezing) — often used with up, out, off ; specifically : to remove or reduce the moisture content of by exposure to heat or air : desiccate — compare dehydrate , evaporate

2. : to take up (moisture or liquid) by absorption — usually used with up

the sun will dry up the dew quickly

3. : to cause (a female mammal) to stop giving milk — used with off or up

intransitive verb

1. : to become dry : become free from wetness or moisture — often used with off, out

nylon dries rapidly

I dried at the electric blower — Saul Bellow


a. of moisture or a liquid : to evaporate, become absorbed, or drain away — often used with up

the drying up during the summer of the shallow ponds — W.H.Dowdeswell

b. : to become hard, tough, and elastic as a result of oxidation and polymerization : solidify — used especially of various oils, paints, and varnishes applied as thin films

3. of a female mammal : to stop giving milk — used with off or up


desiccate , dehydrate , bake , parch : dry is a general term applicable to any process, natural or artificial, whereby moisture is extracted from something

clothes drying on the line

to dry up a swamp

drying the dishes with a towel

desiccate indicates a complete exhaustion of moisture, with resultant shriveling or withering; in reference to persons it indicates loss of animation, vitality, capacity to interest

desiccated fish

desiccated coconut meat

the spur of an imagination not yet desiccated by a too strict adhesion to those so-called ‘laws’ — Eric Partridge

achieves her dream of gentility by marrying a stockbroker and settles into a mold of desiccated snobbery — C.J.Rolo

dehydrate , like desiccate , indicates complete elimination of water but usually lacks additional suggestion

dehydrated fruits

It may refer to a condition of the body resulting from loss or deprivation of fluids

he may develop fever from becoming dehydrated — Benjamin Spock

bake in the meaning here involved may indicate not only drying by heat or fire but also hardening, sometimes with resulting cracking

clay tablets on which all three types were present — that is, tablets on which the wedges had been impressed while they were still soft and then baked in — Fletcher Pratt

the sun- baked mud flats

parch suggests drying by dry heat or drought; it may imply effects comparable to thirst and suggest that water will restore and refresh

record heat waves which have parched mid-America's usually productive plains — New York Times Magazine

we had drunk all our water and so were parched and all done in when we finally espied a small, scattered Bedouin camp — National Geographic

III. noun

( -es ; see sense 6 )

Etymology: Middle English drie, dry, from drie, dry, adjective

1. : the condition of being dry : dryness

2. : something dry: as

a. chiefly Australia

(1) : the rainless season of the year

(2) : a desert area

b. : a place that is dry (as a piece of dry land)


[by shortening]

: dryhouse

4. : a natural seam constituting a flaw in stone

5. : thirst ; especially : a craving for intoxicating liquor

6. plural drys : prohibitionist

7. : the action of becoming dry

speed of dry of printing inks

IV. adverb

Etymology: dry (I)

: in a dry way

“what a thrilling life you have!” “Yeah,” I says, dry — Bant Singer

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.