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See more synonyms for desiccate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), des·ic·cat·ed, des·ic·cat·ing.
  1. to dry thoroughly; dry up.
  2. to preserve (food) by removing moisture; dehydrate.
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verb (used without object), des·ic·cat·ed, des·ic·cat·ing.
  1. to become thoroughly dried or dried up.
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Origin of desiccate

1565–75; < Latin dēsiccātus dried up, past participle of dēsiccāre, equivalent to dē- de- + siccāre, derivative of siccus dry; see -ate1
Related formsdes·ic·ca·tion, noundes·ic·ca·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for desiccate

Historical Examples

  • And aint I the owner of that news, and should I not desiccate it if I can?

    Molly Brown's Post-Graduate Days

    Nell Speed

  • The effect of that would be to desiccate the human species in human conceit.

    Marse Henry (Vol. 2)

    Henry Watterson

  • Another effect of the over heating of the stove is to desiccate or parch the air, and to render it irritating when breathed.

  • To desiccate him in my laboratory with the quasi certainty of resuscitating him after the restoration of peace.

British Dictionary definitions for desiccate


  1. (tr) to remove most of the water from (a substance or material); dehydrate
  2. (tr) to preserve (food) by removing moisture; dry
  3. (intr) to become dried up
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Derived Formsdesiccation, noundesiccative, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Latin dēsiccāre to dry up, from de- + siccāre to dry, from siccus dry
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

Word Origin and History for desiccate


1570s (past participle adjective desicatt is attested from early 15c.), from Latin desiccatus, past participle of desiccare "to make very dry" (see desiccation). Related: Desiccated; desiccating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

desiccate in Medicine


  1. To dry thoroughly; render free from moisture.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

desiccate in Science


  1. To remove the moisture from something or dry it thoroughly.♦ A desiccator is a container that removes moisture from the air within it.♦ A desiccator contains a desiccant, a substance that traps or absorbs water molecules. Some desiccants include silica gel (silicon dioxide), calcium sulfate (dehydrated gypsum), calcium oxide (calcined lime), synthetic molecular sieves (porous crystalline aluminosilicates), and dried clay.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.