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From Old French, from Latin dēsiccāre, present active infinitive of dēsiccō.




  1. (reflexive) to dry out
    • 1837 Louis Viardot, L’Ingénieux Hidalgo Don Quichotte de la Manchefr.Wikisource, translation of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Chapter I:
      Enfin, notre hidalgo s’acharna tellement à sa lecture, que ses nuits se passaient en lisant du soir au matin, et ses jours, du matin au soir. Si bien qu’à force de dormir peu et de lire beaucoup, il se dessécha le cerveau, de manière qu’il vint à perdre l’esprit.
      Finally, our hidalgo attached himself so much to his reading that his nights were spent reading from evening to moring, and his days, from morning to evening. So much so that because of his little sleep and excessive reading, he dried out his brain in such a way that he lost his mind.


This verb is conjugated like céder. It is a regular -er verb, except that its last stem vowel alternates between /e/ (written ‘é’) and /ɛ/ (written ‘è’), with the latter being used before mute ‘e’. One special case is the future stem, used in the future and the conditional. Before 1990, the future stem of such verbs was written dessécher-, reflecting the historic pronunciation /e/. In 1990, the French Academy recommended that it be written dessècher-, reflecting the now common pronunciation /ɛ/, thereby making this distinction consistent throughout the conjugation (and also matching in this regard the conjugations of verbs like lever and jeter). Both spellings are in use today, and both are therefore given here.

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