Bone Dry

Meanings of “Bone Dry”

The phrase “bone dry” means a thing that has completely dried up like a bone that has no water or any liquid in it. This term is also used for dehydrated, a person with severe malnutrition or dried up plants.

Origin of “Bone Dry”

The phrase “bone dry” originated from a phrase, as stated by Robert Forby in his book, The Vocabulary of East Anglia, published in 1830. Here it is defined as an adjective that means “perfectly dry; as dry as a bone long bleached in the weather.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Bone Dry Every Creek by Francis Duggan

For miles around bone dry every creek and bone dry every drain
And the brown and bare paddocks are thirsting for rain
It has not rained here now for many a day
And the cattle feeling the hunger are bellowing for hay
The day it is sunny and blustery around twenty degrees
And it blows with a thirst the freshening coastal breeze
And sucks any bit of moisture that is on the ground
The grass it cannot grow with el nino around
The long range weather forecast is for fine and dry
No signs of any rain clouds for days in the sky
In Summer we have had not much rain at all
And it looks like we are in for a very dry Fall
The first week of March and of Autumn and the paddocks so dry and bare
With scarce enough of grass on them for to sustain a hare.

The poet talks about the situation after the drought where every creek is left bone dry. The use of this phrase points to the severity of the drought. The drought has made the hay become a rare commodity that has made the cattle die of hunger. This continues during the entire autumn season, up to March, when even a hare has had a hard time finding grass for him. The meanings of the phrase are clear that it means a completely dry season.

Example #2

We, Made of Bone by Mahtem Shiferraw

These days, I refuse to let you see me
the way I see myself.

I wake up in the morning not knowing
whether I will make it through the day;

reminding myself of the small, small things
I’ve forgotten to marvel in;

these trees, blood-free and bone-dry
have come to rescue me more than once.

The poem is about the people how they become bone dry, which means that people are trapped in a routine in a way that has become rather mechanical individuals. The poet thinks that he is mired in this materialistic world in such a way that the least expected things, such as trees, come to rescue him. The use of the phrase “bone-dry” points to the trees’ dryness without any sap left in them

Example  #3

Bone Dry by Tristam

We used to think our words were gold
That our binded hearts could
Withstand cold
We were catching diamonds in the rain
Letting precious water through the drain
Stars were dancing in their light
A past that we could never right
Oh, they were dancing
Way up high
We built these walls so we could find
Who could prove themselves
through the waves of time
Trying to repent before you sin
Is like giving up before you begin
Stars were dancing in their light
A past that we could never right
Oh, they were dancing
Way up high
Stars were dancing in their light
A future we will never write
Dirt on our feet was bone dry
it was bone dry

The above lines sum up the entire life of the singer. The singer is of the view that we have made beautiful plans to lead a golden life. However, such things never happen in life as “waves of time” make a person repent over his sins. However, the time continues slipping out of our hands in a way that it seems that we shall never be able to make a plan for the future with our feet “bone dry.” The phrase clarifies the meaning that dry dirt on foot shows the passing of time, wear and tear of the feet, and old age.

Example #4

Bone Dry by Kathleen Karr

Despite having heard and seen visible marks of destruction that the great Sahara Desert wreaks on its lovers, Matthew Morrissey and Dr. Asa B. Cornwall try to discover the skull of Alexander the Great. He wanted to make a name in the history of Phrenologists. However, they come across the risks and dangers that they have only heard before. They then come to know how bone dry a thing or a body organ becomes in this vast expanse. The meanings of the phrase are clear that the things become completely dry over there.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “The famine has left every living human being bone dry.”

Example #2: “The wells appeared bone dry due to the drought in Rajasthan India.”

Example #3: “The painting needs some more flashy colors. Otherwise, it looks bone dry.”

Example #4: “Mike teased that his sister, Becky, is becoming bone dry because started following Keto diet plan.

Example #5: “The zoo animals were bone dried at the end of the lockdown because no one took care of them.”