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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Desiccant \De*sic"cant\, a. [L. desiccans, p. pr. of desiccare. See Desiccate.] Drying; desiccative. -- n. (Med.) A medicine or application for drying up a sore.


a. Causing dryness. n. A substance (such as calcium oxide or silica gel) that is used as a drying agent because of its high affinity to water.


n. a substance that promotes drying (e.g., calcium oxide absorbs water and is used to remove moisture) [syn: drying agent, drier, sicative]


A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains a state of dryness ( desiccation) in its vicinity. Commonly encountered pre-packaged desiccants are solids that adsorb water. Desiccants for specialized purposes may be in forms other than solid, and may work through other principles, such as chemical bonding of water molecules. They are commonly encountered in foods to retain crispness. Industrially, desiccants are widely used to control the level of water in gas streams.

Usage examples of "desiccant".

Even with all the scratches on the mask, he could read the printing on the bag now: powder, desiccant, nstm 242-55-9010, Milspec 9710la.

He knew what desiccant was--he'd originally been assigned to the boilers shop before landing the intern position in Production.

Lumpy bags of desiccant powder surrounded the body like cement pillows.

One final ladder led below the lower-level deck plates, and there, in the bilge in front of IB boiler, was the burst bag of desiccant powder that had attracted the sounding-andsecurity watch's attention in the first place.

He pointed down and then led her to the desiccant bag on the lower level, which she acknowledged with a nod of her head.

The stranger seemed bent on arranging tons of desiccant in a simple geometric pattern on the floor of the synthesizer rotunda.

On his module monitor he saw that the intruder was trundling the hovercycle on its small kickwheels to the elevator, having finished his peculiar ritual with the desiccant bags.

Farther back on the track two blobs lay motionless and rubbery in a bed of desiccant, too slow to cross the deadly obstacle before they suffered terminal dehydration.

An eighteenth-century inkstand—complete with quill holder, penknife, inkwell, pounce box (to hold the desiccant powder), and wafer box (to hold the paste sealing wafers)—was a monument to the physical act of writing.