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[ir-i-geyt] /ˈɪr ɪˌgeɪt/
verb (used with object), irrigated, irrigating.
to supply (land) with water by artificial means, as by diverting streams, flooding, or spraying.
Medicine/Medical. to supply or wash (an orifice, wound, etc.) with a spray or a flow of some liquid.
to moisten; wet.
Origin of irrigate
1605-15; < Latin irrigātus, past participle of irrigāre to wet, flood, nourish with water, equivalent to ir- ir-1 + rigā- (stem of rigāre to provide with water, soak) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
irrigator, noun
nonirrigated, adjective
nonirrigating, adjective
overirrigate, verb (used with object), overirrigated, overirrigating.
reirrigate, verb (used with object), reirrigated, reirrigating.
unirrigated, adjective
well-irrigated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for irrigate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The farmers in Egypt irrigate in the same way as the ryots of India.

    The Critic in the Orient George Hamlin Fitch
  • In this way, step by step, we irrigate all that may be reached by a single gutter.

  • Each has a cabin in which the rancher lives while they irrigate and make hay.

    Letters on an Elk Hunt Elinore Pruitt Stewart
  • He expects some time to pipe it down to town and irrigate a tract of land.

    The Cruise of a Schooner Albert W. Harris
  • He knew his gift was to irrigate, as he said—to suggest and stimulate.

    Ruskin Relics W. G. Collingwood
  • As a consequence of the union of the gods, water flowed to irrigate the land.

    Archology and the Bible George A. Barton
  • Thus it will be seen that abundant fall is obtainable to irrigate all the lands adjacent.

    Buffalo Land W. E. Webb
  • The children of the desert had learned to irrigate their dusty fields.

    The Unknown Quantity Henry van Dyke
  • That is why I do not irrigate the fields oftener than is absolutely necessary.

    Out on the Pampas G. A. Henty
British Dictionary definitions for irrigate


to supply (land) with water by means of artificial canals, ditches, etc, esp to promote the growth of food crops
(med) to bathe or wash out a bodily part, cavity, or wound
(transitive) to make fertile, fresh, or vital by or as if by watering
Derived Forms
irrigable, adjective
irrigation, noun
irrigational, irrigative, adjective
irrigator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin irrigāre, from rigāre to moisten, conduct water
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for irrigate

"supply land with water," 1610s, from Latin irrigatus, past participle of irrigare "lead water to, refresh, irrigate, flood," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + rigare "to water, to moisten," of uncertain origin, perhaps cognate with rain. Related: Irrigated; irrigating. In Middle English it was an adjective, "watered, flooded" (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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irrigate in Medicine

irrigate ir·ri·gate (ĭr'ĭ-gāt')
v. ir·ri·gat·ed, ir·ri·gat·ing, ir·ri·gates
To wash out a cavity or wound with a fluid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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