• (RP) IPA: /dɪˈzɜːt/
  • (GA) IPA: /dɪˈzɝt/, /dəˈzɝt/

desert (plural deserts)

  1. (usually, in the plural) That which is deserved or merited; a just punishment or reward
    • 1600, John Dowland, Flow My Tears
      From the highest spire of contentment / my fortune is thrown; / and fear and grief and pain for my deserts / are my hopes, since hope is gone.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 17:
      Who will believe my verse in time to come,
      If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
    • 1897, Bram Stoker, Dracula Chapter 21
      "Nonsense, Mina. It is a shame to me to hear such a word. I would not hear it of you. And I shall not hear it from you. May God judge me by my deserts, and punish me with more bitter suffering than even this hour, if by any act or will of mine anything ever come between us!"
    • His reputation falls far below his desert.
    • 1971 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice
      "It is true that certain common sense precepts of justice, particularly those which concern the protection of liberties and rights, or which express the claims of desert, seem to contradict this contention."
  • Russian: заслуженный
  • Spanish: merecido (just punishment)
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈdɛzət/
  • (GA) enPR: dĕ'zə(r)t, IPA: /ˈdɛzɚt/


  1. A barren area of land or desolate terrain, especially one with little water or vegetation; a wasteland.
    • 1713, Alexander Pope, Windsor Forest:
      Not thus the land appear'd in ages past, / A dreary desert and a gloomy waste.
  2. (figuratively) Any barren place or situation.
    • 1858, William Howitt, Land, Labour, and Gold; Or, Two Years in Victoria (page 54)
      He declared that the country was an intellectual desert; that he was famishing for spiritual aliment, and for discourse on matters beyond mere nuggets, prospectings, and the price of gold.
    • 2006, Philip N. Cooke, Creative Industries in Wales: Potential and Pitfalls (page 34)
      So the question that is commonly asked is, why put a media incubator in a media desert and have it managed by a civil servant?
Translations Adjective

desert (not comparable)

  1. Usually of a place: abandoned#Adjective|abandoned, deserted#Adjective|deserted, or uninhabited.
    They were marooned on a desert island in the Pacific.
    • Bible, Luke ix. 10
      He […] went aside privately into a desert place.
    • 1697, “The Eighth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432 ↗, lines 252–255, page 441 ↗:
      See, from afar, yon Rock that mates the Sky, / About whoſe Feet ſuch Heaps of Rubbiſh lye: / Such indigeſted Ruin; bleak and bare, / How deſart now it ſtands, expos'd in Air!
    • 1750, Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", Stanza 14:
      Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, / And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Translations Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /dɪˈzɜːt/
  • (GA) IPA: /dɪˈzɝt/, /dəˈzɝt/

desert (deserts, present participle deserting; past and past participle deserted)

  1. To leave (anything that depends on one's presence to survive, exist, or succeed), especially when contrary to a promise or obligation; to abandon; to forsake.
    You can't just drive off and desert me here, in the middle of nowhere.
  2. To leave one's duty or post, especially to leave a military or naval unit without permission.
    Anyone found deserting will be punished.
Translations Translations
  • French: déserter
  • German: desertieren, fahnenflüchtig werden, Fahnenflucht begehen
  • Portuguese: desertar
  • Russian: дезерти́ровать
  • Spanish: desertar

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