See more synonyms for desiccate on
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.
verb (used without object), des·ic·cat·ed, des·ic·cat·ing.
  1. to become thoroughly dried or dried up.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for desiccation

Historical Examples of desiccation

British Dictionary definitions for desiccation


  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
Derived Formsdesiccation, noundesiccative, adjective

Word Origin for desiccate

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 desiccation

early 15c., from Middle French desiccation or directly from Late Latin desiccationem (nominative desiccatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin desiccare "to make very dry," from de- "thoroughly" + siccare "to dry" (see siccative).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

desiccation in Medicine


  1. The process of being desiccated.
Related formsdesic•ca′tive (-tĭv) adj.


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

desiccation 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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.