tr.v. drenched, drench·ing, drench·es
1. To wet through and through; soak.
2. To administer a large oral dose of liquid medicine to (an animal).
3. To provide with something in great abundance; surfeit: just drenched in money.
1. The act of wetting or becoming wet through and through.
2. Something that drenches: a drench of rain.
3. A large dose of liquid medicine, especially one administered to an animal by pouring down the throat.
[Middle English drenchen, to drown, from Old English drencan, to give to drink, drown; see dhreg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Word History: Drink and drench mean quite different things today, but in fact they share similar origins, and, historically, similar meanings. Drink comes from a prehistoric Germanic verb *drinkan, from the Germanic root *drink- meaning "drink." Another form of this root, *drank-, could be combined with a suffix *-jan that was used to form causative verbs, in this case *drankjan, "to cause to drink." The descendant of the simple verb *drinkan in Old English was drincan (virtually unchanged), while the causative verb *drankjan was affected by certain sound shifts and became Old English drencan, pronounced (drĕnchŏn), and, in Middle and Modern English, drench. In Middle English drench came to mean "to drown," a sense now obsolete; the sense "to steep, soak in liquid" and the current modern sense "to make thoroughly wet" developed by early Modern English times. Drink and drench are not the only such pairs in English, where one verb comes from a prehistoric Germanic causative; some others include sit and set ("to cause to sit"), lie and lay ("to cause to lie"), and fall and fell ("cause to fall").
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.