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Drier vs. Dryer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
"Drier" is the comparative form of "dry," meaning more dry, while "dryer" is a noun referring to a device that dries.

Key Differences

"Drier" and "dryer" are commonly confused words in the English language. While "drier" serves as the comparative form of the adjective "dry," indicating a higher degree of dryness, "dryer" acts as a noun, typically describing a machine used to remove moisture.
When comparing two items in terms of dryness, one would use "drier." Conversely, if referencing a household appliance that dries clothes, one would employ the term "dryer."
In a sentence like "This towel feels drier than that one," "drier" contrasts the dryness levels of two towels. In contrast, in the statement "I'll put the clothes in the dryer," "dryer" points to a machine specifically designed to dry items.
Understanding the difference between "drier" and "dryer" is crucial for clarity in communication. While "drier" exclusively relates to the condition of being less wet or more dry, "dryer" stands alone as a noun signifying a particular tool or device.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Comparative form of "dry"
A machine or device to remove moisture


Describing a higher degree of dryness
Referring to a device or appliance


"The desert is drier than the coast."
"She put her clothes in the dryer."


Derived from "dry"
Comes from the verb "dry" with the -er suffix

Drier and Dryer Definitions


Refers to something less wet.
After an hour in the sun, the clothes were much drier.


Can refer to devices used in various industries.
The factory uses an industrial dryer to process the grains.


Comparative adjective for "dry."
The climate here is drier than back home.


A tool used by hair professionals.
She styled her hair using a hair dryer.


Indicates a higher degree of dryness.
The cake is drier without the syrup.


A machine or device used for drying.
I placed the wet laundry in the dryer.


Used to contrast the dryness of two subjects.
This brand of paint is drier and less glossy.


Can be electric or gas-powered.
We switched from an electric to a gas dryer for efficiency.


Denotes a lack of moisture.
The soil in this area is drier and less fertile.


An appliance often found in households.
The dryer broke, so we're air drying our clothes today.


One that dries.


An appliance that removes moisture by heating or another process
A clothes dryer.
A hair dryer.


Can "dryer" be used to describe hair tools?

Yes, a "hair dryer" is a tool used to blow dry hair.

Is "drier" always used for comparisons?

Typically, yes. It compares the dryness of two entities.

Which one is correct: "The Sahara is drier" or "The Sahara is dryer"?

"The Sahara is drier" is correct.

If something is "less wet," is it "drier"?

Yes, "drier" can describe something that is "less wet" than another.

Can "dryer" be used in plural form?

Yes, "dryers" can refer to multiple drying devices.

What's the superlative form of "dry"?

The superlative form is "driest."

Which is more commonly used?

It depends on context. "Dryer" is common when discussing appliances, while "drier" is used in comparative contexts.

Is there a verb form related to "dryer"?

The verb is "dry," as in "to dry clothes."

Can "drier" be used as a noun?

Not in modern standard American English. The noun is "dryer."

Is the phrase "a drier dryer" correct?

Yes, it means a dryer (device) that is more effective in drying (making things drier).

Are "drier" and "dryer" interchangeable?

No, "drier" is an adjective and "dryer" is a noun.

Can "dryer" be used in a non-literal way?

Yes, it can be metaphorical, like "a dryer of tears" meaning something that comforts.

How do you pronounce "drier" and "dryer"?

They are pronounced the same way: /ˈdraɪ.ər/.

Do both words have the same origin?

They both stem from the word "dry," but their uses and meanings have evolved differently.

Can a place be a "dryer"?

No, places are described as "dry" or "drier." The noun "dryer" refers to devices.

Which one is used in British English?

Both words are used, but with variations in spelling and usage compared to American English.

Can "drier" refer to a device?

No, "drier" is the comparative form of "dry." The noun for a device is "dryer."

Do other words follow the "drier" vs. "dryer" pattern in English?

Not exactly, but similar confusions arise with words like "later" vs. "latter" or "elder" vs. "older."

Why do these words confuse many English learners?

Because they sound the same and have related meanings, but different uses.

How can I remember the difference?

Remember that "drier" describes and "dryer" is a device.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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