Nearby words

  1. druse,
  2. drusilla,
  3. drusus,
  4. druthers,
  5. druze,
  6. dry abscess,
  7. dry adiabatic lapse rate,
  8. dry as dust,
  9. dry battery,
  10. dry beer


    not dry behind the ears, immature; unsophisticated: Adult responsibilities were forced on him, although he was still not dry behind the ears.

Origin of dry

before 900; Middle English drie, Old English drȳge; akin to Dutch droog, German trocken; see drought

Related forms

Synonym study

1. Dry, arid both mean without moisture. Dry is the general word indicating absence of water or freedom from moisture: a dry well; dry clothes. Arid suggests great or intense dryness in a region or climate, especially such as results in bareness or in barrenness: arid tracts of desert. 28. See evaporate. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for dry up

dry up

verb (adverb)

(intr) to become barren or unproductive; failin middle age his inspiration dried up
to dry (dishes, cutlery, etc) with a tea towel after they have been washed
(intr) informal to stop talking or speakingwhen I got on the stage I just dried up; dry up!


adjective drier, driest, dryer or dryest

lacking moisture; not damp or wet
having little or no rainfall
not in or under waterdry land
having the water drained away or evaporateda dry river
not providing milka dry cow
(of the eyes) free from tears
  1. informalin need of a drink; thirsty
  2. causing thirstdry work
eaten without butter, jam, etcdry toast
(of a wine, cider, etc) not sweet
pathol not accompanied by or producing a mucous or watery dischargea dry cough
consisting of solid as opposed to liquid substances or commodities
without adornment; plaindry facts
lacking interest or stimulationa dry book
lacking warmth or emotion; colda dry greeting
(of wit or humour) shrewd and keen in an impersonal, sarcastic, or laconic way
opposed to or prohibiting the sale of alcoholic liquor for human consumptiona dry area
NZ (of a ewe) without a lamb after the mating season
electronics (of a soldered electrical joint) imperfect because the solder has not adhered to the metal, thus reducing conductance

verb dries, drying or dried

(when intr, often foll by off) to make or become dry or free from moisture
(tr) to preserve (meat, vegetables, fruit, etc) by removing the moisture

noun plural drys or dries

British informal a Conservative politician who is considered to be a hard-linerCompare wet (def. 10)
the dry Australian informal the dry season
US and Canadian an informal word for prohibitionist
See also dry out, dry up

Derived Formsdryable, adjectivedryness, noun

Word Origin for dry

Old English drӯge; related to Old High German truckan, Old Norse draugr dry wood

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 dry up
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with dry up

dry up


Gradually become unproductive, as in After two collections of short stories, his ability to write fiction dried up. Also see well's run dry.


Stop talking; also, cause to stop talking. For example, Dry up! You've said enough. [Slang; mid-1800s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with dry

  • dry as dust
  • dry behind the ears
  • dry out
  • dry run
  • dry up

also see:

  • cut and dried
  • hang out to dry
  • high and dry
  • keep one's powder dry
  • well's run dry
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.