[ ir-i-geyt ]
/ ˈɪr ɪˌgeɪt /

verb (used with object), ir·ri·gat·ed, ir·ri·gat·ing.

to supply (land) with water by artificial means, as by diverting streams, flooding, or spraying.
Medicine/Medical. to supply or wash (an orifice, wound, etc.) with a spray or a flow of some liquid.
to moisten; wet.

Nearby words

  1. irreverent,
  2. irreversible,
  3. irreversible pulpitis,
  4. irrevocable,
  5. irrigable,
  6. irrigation,
  7. irrigative,
  8. irriguous,
  9. irritability,
  10. irritable

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 forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irrigate

British Dictionary definitions for irrigate


/ (ˈɪrɪˌɡeɪt) /


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

Word Origin for irrigate

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for irrigate


[ ĭrĭ-gāt′ ]


To wash out a cavity or wound with a fluid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.