Definition of “dry” - English Dictionary

“dry” in British English

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uk /draɪ/ us /draɪ/ drier, driest

dry adjective (NOT WET)

A2 used to describe something that has no water or other liquid in, on, or around it:

I hung his wet trousers on the radiator, but they're not dry yet.
These plants grow well in dry soil/a dry climate.
This cake's a bit dry - I think I left it in the oven for too long.
run dry

If a river or other area of water runs dry, the water gradually disappears from it:

By this time all the wells had run dry.

C1 Dry hair or skin does not have enough of the natural oils that make it soft and smooth:

a shampoo for dry hair

UK Dry bread is plain, without butter, jam, etc.:

All I was offered was a piece of dry bread and an apple!

More examples

  • Cracks had appeared in the dry ground.
  • The weather forecast said it would be fine and dry today.
  • You mix all the dry ingredients together before you add the milk.
  • We collected dry twigs to start the fire.
  • This moisturizing cream is excellent for dry, flaky skin.
noun [ U ] uk /ˈdraɪ.nəs/ us /ˈdraɪ.nəs/

The wine has just enough dryness to balance its fruitiness.
The meat was juicy with no hint of dryness.


uk /draɪ/ us /draɪ/

dryverb [ I or T ]

uk /draɪ/ us /draɪ/

A2 to become dry, or to make something become dry:

Will this paint dry by tomorrow?
Hang the clothes up to dry.
The fruit is dried in the sun.
dry the dishes UK also dry up (the dishes), UK do the drying (up)

to dry plates, knives, forks, etc. after they have been washed

More examples

  • You're sopping wet - go and dry yourself and get changed.
  • The school provides paper towels for the children to dry their hands on.
  • If she leaves her hair to dry on its own, it just waves naturally.
  • We'll have to wait another couple of hours for the paint to dry.
  • He was humming a tune as he dried the dishes.

(Definition of “dry” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“dry” in American English

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us /drɑɪ/

dry adjective (NOT WET)

[ -er/-est only ] without water or liquid in, on, or around something:

Are the clothes dry yet?

[ -er/-est only ] If hair or skin is dry, it lacks natural oils:

Do you have a shampoo for dry hair?

[ -er/-est only ] If the weather is dry, there is very little water in the air and no chance of rain.

dry adjective (NO ALCOHOL)

dry adjective (NOT INTERESTING)

[ -er/-est only ] not interesting or exciting:

The book is packed with information but it is a little dry.

dry adjective (AMUSING)

[ -er/-est only ] amusing in a way that is not obvious:

a dry wit

dryverb [ I/T ]

us /drɑɪ/ present tense dries, present participle drying, past tense and past participle dried

dry verb [ I/T ] (REMOVE WATER)

to become dry, or to remove water from something :

[ I ] I can’t go out until my hair dries.
[ T ] The woman dried her hands on a towel and returned to the table.
[ I ] If you don’t keep food covered, it dries out.

(Definition of “dry” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)