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See also: Drought


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Alternative forms[edit]

  • drouth (Scotland, Northern England, poetry). The pronunciation with /θ/ properly belongs with this now archaic doublet.
  • druft (Northern England, dialectal).


From Middle English droghte, drouȝte, druhhþe, druȝþe, drouȝth, from Old English drūgaþ, equivalent to dry +‎ -th. Cognate with Dutch droogte, Low German Dröögde.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /dɹaʊt/
    • (file)
  • (Canada) IPA(key): [dɹʌʊt]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊt


drought (countable and uncountable, plural droughts)

  1. A period of unusually low rainfall, longer and more severe than a dry spell.
    • 2012 January, Donald Worster, “A Drier and Hotter Future”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, archived from the original on 26 January 2012, page 70:
      Phoenix and Lubbock are both caught in severe drought, and it is going to get much worse. We may see many such [dust] storms in the decades ahead, along with species extinctions, radical disturbance of ecosystems, and intensified social conflict over land and water. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the epoch when humans have become a major geological and climatic force.
  2. (by extension, informal) A longer than expected term without success, particularly in sport.
    Synonym: losing streak
    Antonym: winning streak
    • 2021 March 28, Phil McNulty, “Albania 0-2 England”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      Kane had been going through something of a drought by his own standards. His previous England goal came 500 days ago, in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo, and his header in Tirana ended a run of 496 minutes without scoring.
  3. (archaic) dryness, aridness, dry heat
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Genesis 31:40:
      Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
    • 1814, The Right Honorable Sir John Sinclair, chapter XI, in Appendix to the General Report of the Agricultural State, and Political Circumstances, of Scotland, page 16:
      The consequences are, that a few days of severe drought, in the early parts of summer, or even when the grain is ripening, is sometimes fatal to the crop on moss.
    • 1817, Adam Smith, chapter V, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, volume 2, page 344:
      The seasons most unfavourable to the crop are those of excessive drought or excessive rain.

Derived terms[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of droghte