Middle English drie "without moisture, comparatively free from water or fluid," from Old English dryge, from Proto-Germanic *draugiz (source also of Middle Low German dröge, Middle Dutch druge, Dutch droog, Old High German trucchon, German trocken, Old Norse draugr), from Germanic root *dreug- "dry."
Meaning "barren" is mid-14c. Of persons, "showing no emotion," c. 1200; of humor or jests, "without show of pleasantry, caustic, sarcastic" early 15c. (implied in dryly). Sense of "uninteresting, tedious" is from 1620s. Of wines, brandy, etc., "free from sweetness or fruity flavor," 1700. Of places prohibiting alcoholic drink, 1870 (dry feast, one at which no liquor is served, is from late 15c.); colloquial dry (n.) "prohibitionist" is by 1888, American English political slang.
Dry goods (1650s) were those dispensed in dry, not liquid, measure. Dry land (that not under the sea) is from early 13c. Dry-nurse "nurse who attends and feeds a child but does not suckle it" is from 1590s. Dry run "rehearsal" is by 1941. Dry ice "solid carbon dioxide" is by 1925.
Middle English drien, from Old English drygan, "make dry, free from water or moisture of any kind," also intransitive, "lose moisture," cognate with Dutch droogen, Low German drügen, from the source of dry (adj.). Related: Dried; drying. Of liquids, "to evaporate," early 14c. Meaning "to wipe (dishes, etc.) dry after washing up" is by 1935. Dry out in the drug addiction sense is from 1967. Dry up "stop talking" is by 1853.
updated on December 06, 2018