The following is from Salem's Lot:

It is not the first town in American history to just dry up and blow away, and will probably not be the last, but it is one of the strangest.

What's the meaning of "dry up and blow away" in this sentence? Is it a idiom?

And also what type of sentence is it? Could you please elaborate?

  • 2
    Yes, it's an idiom: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dry_up_and_blow_away Was it a problem for you to google it? Dec 28, 2018 at 11:37
  • 2
    @MichaelRybkin - To be fair, the definition on the page you link to reads: To go away; to disappear. I have no problem with a learner who has trouble understanding what it means for a town to "go away" or "disappear." After all, a town is not exactly like a wandering vagrant or a rabbit in magician's hat. It's figurative language that might be hard for a learner to conceptualize.
    – J.R.
    Dec 28, 2018 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


This is a metaphorical description of what happened to the town.

When a plant is not watered it eventually dies. If left long enough in dry conditions it will dry out in the sun and turn brown and then it will get so brittle that it crumbles into tiny bits that can be blown away in the wind. At that point there is nothing left of the plant.

The town has lost its vitality, and because it has nothing more to sustain it, it has gradually become more lifeless and brittle to the point where it has fallen apart and has disappeared. It's a ghost town, where nobody lives and the buildings are falling down or gone completely.

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