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Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for June 27, 2021 is:

desiccate • DESS-ih-kayt  • verb

1 : to dry up or become dried up

2 : to preserve (a food) by drying : dehydrate

3 : to drain of emotional or intellectual vitality


Horticultural oils work by smothering insect and mite pests/eggs, and in breaking down their protective coatings, causing them to desiccate (dry out).” — Bracken Henderson, The Preston (Idaho) Citizen, 28 Apr. 2021

“A title like ‘pungent dins concentric’ conjures minor Language poetry circa 1986, but Vanessa Couto Johnson’s debut couldn’t be less desiccated. Her strophic prose unfolds at a synaptic pace….” — Michael Robbins, The Chicago Tribune, 11 Dec. 2018

Did you know?

Raisins are desiccated grapes; they’re also dehydrated grapes. And yet, a close look at the etymologies of desiccate and dehydrate raises a tangly question. In Latin siccus means “dry,” whereas the Greek stem hydr- means “water.” So how could it be that desiccate and dehydrate are synonyms? The answer is in the multiple identities of the prefix de-. It may look like the same prefix, but the de- in desiccate means “completely, thoroughly,” as in despoil (“to spoil utterly”) or denude (“to strip completely bare”). The de- in dehydrate, on the other hand, means “remove,” the same as it does in defoliate (“to strip of leaves”) or in deice (“to rid of ice”).

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