[ des-i-keyt ]
See 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

Other words from desiccate

  • des·ic·ca·tion, noun
  • des·ic·ca·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use desiccate in a sentence

  • Always, then, when we succeed in preserving from putrefaction this animal part, the other parts will be disposed to desiccation.

    History of Embalming | J. N. Gannal
  • These are natural mummies, or the result of simple desiccation, the skin resembling leather.

    History of Embalming | J. N. Gannal
  • The desiccation of Central Asia is still going on, as is also probably the upheaval of a great part of the continent.

  • We must not omit that union of the parts of bodies which is the principal cause of induration and desiccation.

    Novum Organum | Francis Bacon
  • This is the "grama" or "buffalo-grass," and, despite its look of utter desiccation, is highly nutritious.

British Dictionary definitions for desiccate


/ (ˈdɛsɪˌkeɪt) /

  1. (tr) to remove most of the water from (a substance or material); dehydrate

  2. (tr) to preserve (food) by removing moisture; dry

  1. (intr) to become dried up

Origin of desiccate

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

Derived forms of desiccate

  • desiccation, noun
  • desiccative, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for desiccate


[ dĕsĭ-kāt′ ]

  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.