follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

drought

[drout] /draʊt/
noun
1.
a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops.
2.
an extended shortage:
a drought of good writing.
3.
Archaic. thirst.
Also, drouth
[drouth] /draʊθ/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English; Old English drūgath, equivalent to drūg- (base of drȳge dry) + -ath -th1; cognate with Dutch droogte dryness
Can be confused
draught, drought (see pronunciation note at draught)
Synonyms
2. scarcity, lack, want, dearth, paucity, famine.
Pronunciation note
Drought and drouth, nouns derived from the adjective dry plus a suffix, are spellings that represent two phonetic developments of the same Old English word, and are pronounced
[drout] /draʊt/ (Show IPA)
and
[drouth] /draʊθ/
respectively. The latter pronunciation, therefore, is not a mispronunciation of drought. The now unproductive suffix -th1 and its alternate form -t were formerly used to derive nouns from adjectives or verbs, resulting in such pairs as drouth — drought from dry and highth—height (the former now obsolete) from high.
In American English, drought with the pronunciation
[drout] /draʊt/
is common everywhere in educated speech, and is the usual printed form.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for drought
  • Australia is struggling to cope with the consequences of a devastating drought.
  • Being surrounded by rivers is no guarantee against drought.
  • When a drought occurs, plants don't produce seeds and kangaroo rats run out of food and don't reproduce.
  • Ever since the 1960's, this region has struggled with drought alerts and emergencies.
  • Rain forests help generate rainfall in drought-prone countries elsewhere.
  • About once every seven years, droughts occur.
  • Then, the drought subsided and smaller-beaked finches dominated again.
  • The evidence is mounting that warming and drought are changing ecosystems .
  • The drought comes at a difficult moment.
  • Scattered, drought-stressed trees grow in the saline soil.
British Dictionary definitions for drought

drought

/draʊt/
noun
1.
a prolonged period of scanty rainfall
2.
a prolonged shortage
3.
an archaic or dialect word for thirst Archaic and Scot form drouth
Derived Forms
droughty, adjective
Word Origin
Old English drūgoth; related to Dutch droogte; see dry
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for drought
drought
O.E. drugað, from P.Gmc. *drugothaz; related to drugian "dry up, whither" + -ith Gmc. suffix for forming abstract n. from adj. Drouth was a M.E. variant continued in Scot. and northern Eng. dialect.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
drought in Science
drought
  (drout)   
A long period of abnormally low rainfall, lasting up to several years.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
drought in the Bible

From the middle of May to about the middle of August the land of Palestine is dry. It is then the "drought of summer" (Gen. 31:40; Ps. 32:4), and the land suffers (Deut. 28:23: Ps. 102:4), vegetation being preserved only by the dews (Hag. 1:11). (See DEW.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for drought

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for drought

12
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with drought