• synonyms


See more synonyms for irrigate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), ir·ri·gat·ed, ir·ri·gat·ing.
  1. to supply (land) with water by artificial means, as by diverting streams, flooding, or spraying.
  2. Medicine/Medical. to supply or wash (an orifice, wound, etc.) with a spray or a flow of some liquid.
  3. to moisten; wet.
Show More

Origin of irrigate

1605–15; < Latin irrigātus, past participle of irrigāre to wet, flood, nourish with water, equivalent to ir- ir-1 + rigā- (stem of rigāre to provide with water, soak) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsir·ri·ga·tor, nounnon·ir·ri·gat·ed, adjectivenon·ir·ri·gat·ing, adjectiveo·ver·ir·ri·gate, verb (used with object), o·ver·ir·ri·gat·ed, o·ver·ir·ri·gat·ing.re·ir·ri·gate, verb (used with object), re·ir·ri·gat·ed, re·ir·ri·gat·ing.un·ir·ri·gat·ed, adjectivewell-ir·ri·gat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

inundate, soak, flood, sprinkle, spray, flush

Examples from the Web for irrigate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for irrigate


  1. to supply (land) with water by means of artificial canals, ditches, etc, esp to promote the growth of food crops
  2. med to bathe or wash out a bodily part, cavity, or wound
  3. (tr) to make fertile, fresh, or vital by or as if by watering
Show More
Derived Formsirrigable, adjectiveirrigation, nounirrigational or irrigative, adjectiveirrigator, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin irrigāre, from rigāre to moisten, conduct water
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 irrigate


"supply land with water," 1610s, from Latin irrigatus, past participle of irrigare "lead water to, refresh, irrigate, flood," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + rigare "to water, to moisten," of uncertain origin, perhaps cognate with rain. Related: Irrigated; irrigating. In Middle English it was an adjective, "watered, flooded" (mid-15c.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

irrigate in Medicine


  1. To wash out a cavity or wound with a fluid.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.