Middle English seren, from Old English searian (intransitive), of plants, "dry up, to wither, become shriveled" (a sense now rare or obsolete), from Proto-Germanic *saurajan (source also of Middle Dutch soor "dry," Old High German soren "become dry"), from root of sear "dried up, withered" (see sere).
The transitive meaning "cause to wither, make dry" is from early 15c. The meaning "to brand, to burn by hot iron" is recorded from c. 1400, originally especially of cauterizing wounds; the figurative use from this, "deaden, deprive of sensibility" is from 1580s. The cookery sense of "dry or wither (meat, etc.) by application of heat, scorch the surface of" is recent. Related: Seared; searing.
type of flowering shrub, 1753, Modern Latin, coined by Linnaeus from the fem. of Greek azaleos "dry," related to azein "to dry up," probably from PIE root *as- "to burn, glow." The plant thrives in sandy soil.
Xerography: Inkless printing and dry photography—named "xerography," from the Greek words for "dry" and "writing"—were recently demonstrated in the United States. Described as "revolutionary" by the New York Times, xerography employs static electricity to record images on special metal plates, and dry powders to reproduce the images on other surfaces. [U.S. Department of State "Air Bulletin," No. 79, vol. 2, Nov. 17, 1948]
"sherry," 1530s, an alteration of French (vin) sec "dry (wine)," from Latin siccus "dry" (see siccative). Originally of strong, light-colored wine from Spain and the Canaries. OED notes that the vowel is "not a normal development from the original 'seck.' "