Decussate vs desiccate

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Decussate and desiccate are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but mean two different things. We will examine the definitions of decussate and desiccate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Decussate means two things crossing to form an X. Decussate may be used as an adjective or a verb, related words are decussates, decussated, decussating. The word decussate is derived from the Latin word decussare which means to divide in half, crosswise, in the form of an X.

Desiccate means to dry something out, to take the moisture out of something. Desiccated is also used figuratively to describe someone who is lacking enthusiasm. Desiccate is a verb, related words are desiccates, desiccated, desiccating, desiccant, desiccation, desiccative. The word desiccate is derived from the Latin word desiccare which means to render extremely dry.


He was tied to a Crux decussate or an X-shaped cross and was left to suffer for two days. (The Manila Bulletin)

Dry leaves lined Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra’s ramp as models took “The Last Walk” in lacy floor-sweeping skirts and gowns with delicate decussate folds teamed with short structured jackets and plush overcoats. (The Indian Express)

Bleaching affects many species of coral – even the hardy pavona decussate, which is common in Hong Kong waters. (The South China Morning Post)

Electrosurgical devices use high-frequency alternating polarity, electrical current during surgical procedures to coagulate, desiccate, cut or fulgurate the tissues. (Healthcare Journal)

Sheared needle tips can turn brown as the winter winds can desiccate the tips or at times can cause twig dieback. (The Green Bay Press Gazette)

Coconut prices may have dropped from the recent highs of ₹40 to around ₹25, but desiccated coconut powder factories in Tumakuru are yet to recover from this price shock. (The Hindu)

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