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drought

[ drout ]
/ draʊt /
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See synonyms for: drought / droughts on Thesaurus.com

noun

a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops.
an extended shortage: a drought of good writing.
Archaic. thirst.

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Also drouth [drouth]. /draʊθ/.

Origin of drought

First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English drūgath, equivalent to drūg- (base of drȳge “dry”) + -ath noun suffix; cognate with Dutch droogte “dryness”; see dry, -th1
Drought and drouth, nouns derived from the adjective dry plus a suffix, are spellings that represent two phonetic developments of the same Old English word, and are pronounced [drout] /draʊt/ and [drouth] /draʊθ/ respectively. The latter pronunciation, therefore, is not a mispronunciation of drought. The now unproductive suffix -th1 and its alternate form -t were formerly used to derive nouns from adjectives or verbs, resulting in such pairs as drouthdrought from dry and highth—height (the former now obsolete) from high.
In American English, drought with the pronunciation [drout] /draʊt/ is common everywhere in educated speech, and is the usual printed form.
draught, drought
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for drought

drought
/ (draʊt) /

noun

a prolonged period of scanty rainfall
a prolonged shortage
an archaic or dialect word for thirst Archaic and Scot form: drouth
droughty, adjective
Old English drūgoth; related to Dutch droogte; see 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

Scientific definitions for drought

drought
[ drout ]

A long period of abnormally low rainfall, lasting up to several years.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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