Drier vs. Dryer – What’s the Difference?

Some words sound alike but don’t mean the same thing. Such words are called homophones, and they are common in English and in other languages as well.

Dryer and drier are just two examples of English homophones. There are quite literally hundreds of them from which to chose, but today, we are talking about these two. Drier and dryer are indistinguishable in spoken English; a skilled listener must depend on context to determine which word is being used.

While the listener must rely solely on context to tell these words apart, in written English, readers have a letter spelling difference to guide them on the word to choose.

While these words differ by just one letter in their spelling, they are different parts of speech, and cannot be substituted for one another.

With that in mind, should you be writing drier or dryer? Continue reading to find out.

What is the Difference Between Drier and Dryer?

In this article, I will compare drier vs. dryer. I will use each word in at least one example sentence to illustrate its proper meaning and context.

Plus, I will give you a helpful memory tool to help you decide whether you should choose dryer or drier when you are writing about things that are becoming less wet.

When to Use Drier

drier versus dryerWhat does drier mean? Drier is a comparative adjective. It describes something that is less wet than something else.

For example,

  • My boots became much drier after I left them by the fireplace for a few hours.
  • “This merlot is deliciously tangy, but I gravitate toward much drier reds,” Giovanni said.
  • “The carpet is drier over there, where my dog was not drooling on it,” said Elora.
  • Drier air also can trigger headaches. Despite it being cold outside, your body still loses a considerable amount of water through sweating and evaporation. –The Richmond Register

When you are referencing the weather, drier is the word of which you are thinking. Arizona, for example, is known for having a drier climate than that of Washington state.

When to Use Dryer

Definition of dryer definition and definition of drier definitionWhat does dryer mean? Dryer is a noun. It refers to a device that makes something less wet, for instance, a load of laundry or freshly washed hair.

For example,

  • Jamie’s hair dryer fell into the bathtub with her, and now she is dead.
  • Theresa doubted very much that her husband had remembered to put their clothes in the dryer.
  • The manufacturer has recalled all Volta 9000 hair dryer units after a lawsuit claimed the devices were responsible for several house fires.
  • Today’s dryers are loaded with sophisticated features such as moisture sensors, wrinkle shields and steam cycles. But many consumers are making very basic mistakes that affect how they work. –The Washington Post

As the examples indicate, the proper spelling is hair dryer, not hair drier. Similarly, after your clothes have been washed, you throw them in to the dryer, not the drier.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define dryer and define drierAlthough these two words are spoken identically, they are different parts of speech. If the word you are using is an adjective, you should choose drier. If, on the other hand, you are using the word as a noun, you will want to choose dryer.

If you don’t think you will be able to remember this, here is a helpful trick for dryer vs. drier.

You can remember that drier is an adjective since both drier and adjective contain the letter I. By considering these words’ spelling, you can remember drier alone functions as an adjective.


Is it drier or dryer? Drier and dryer are a set of English homophones that represent different parts of speech.

  • Drier is an adjective meaning less wet.
  • Dryer is a noun that refers to a device for making things less wet.