E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The spontaneous rot of timber or wall-paper, not unfrequently produced by certain fungi attaching themselves thereto. It is called dry rot because the wood is not purposely exposed to wet, although, without doubt, damp from defective ventilation is largely present, and the greenness of wood employed contributes greatly to the decay.