deserts


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

des·ert 1

 (dĕz′ərt)
n.
1. A barren or desolate area, especially:
a. A dry, often sandy region of little rainfall, extreme temperatures, and sparse vegetation.
b. A region of permanent cold that is largely or entirely devoid of life.
c. An apparently lifeless area of water.
2. An empty or forsaken place; a wasteland: a cultural desert.
3. Archaic A wild and uninhabited region.
adj.
1. Of, relating to, characteristic of, or inhabiting a desert: desert fauna.
2. Wild and uninhabited: a desert island.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin dēsertum, from neuter past participle of dēserere, to desert; see desert3.]

de·sert 2

 (dĭ-zûrt′)
n.
1. often deserts Something that is deserved or merited, especially a punishment: They got their just deserts when the scheme was finally uncovered.
2. The state or fact of deserving reward or punishment.

[Middle English, from Old French deserte, from feminine past participle of deservir, to deserve; see deserve.]
Word History: When Shakespeare says in Sonnet 72, "Unless you would devise some virtuous lie, / To do more for me than mine own desert," he is using the word desert in the sense of "worthiness; merit," a word perhaps most familiar to us in the plural, meaning "something that is deserved," as in the phrase just deserts. This word goes back to the Latin word dēservīre, "to devote oneself to the service of," which in Vulgar Latin came to mean "to merit by service." Dēservīre is made up of dē-, meaning "thoroughly," and servīre, "to serve." Knowing this, we can distinguish this desert from desert, "a wasteland," and desert, "to abandon," both of which go back to Latin dēserere, "to forsake, leave uninhabited," which is made up of dē-, expressing the notion of undoing, and the verb serere, "to link together." We can also distinguish all three deserts from dessert, "a sweet course at the end of a meal," which is from the French word desservir, "to clear the table." Desservir is made up of des-, expressing the notion of reversal, and servir (from Latin servīre), "to serve," hence, "to unserve" or "to clear the table."

de·sert 3

 (dĭ-zûrt′)
v. de·sert·ed, de·sert·ing, de·serts
v.tr.
1. To leave empty or alone; abandon.
2. To withdraw from, especially in spite of a responsibility or duty; forsake: deserted her friend in a time of need.
3. To abandon (a military post, for example) in violation of orders or an oath.
v.intr.
To forsake one's duty or post, especially to be absent without leave from the armed forces with no intention of returning.

[French déserter, from Late Latin dēsertāre, frequentative of Latin dēserere, to abandon : dē-, de- + serere, to join; see ser- in Indo-European roots.]

de·sert′er n.

Deserts

See also environment.

a religious hermit living alone, often in the desert. — eremitic, adj.
the systematic study of desert features and phenomena.
an abnormal fear of dryness and dry places, as deserts.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.deserts - an outcome (good or bad) that is well deserved
aftermath, consequence - the outcome of an event especially as relative to an individual

deserts

plural noun
just deserts due, payment, reward, punishment, right, return, retribution, recompense, come-uppance (slang), meed (archaic), requital, guerdon (poetic) At the end of the book the bad guys get their just deserts.
Translations

deserts

[dɪˈzɜːts] NPL to get one's just desertsllevarse su merecido
to give sb his/her just desertsdar a algn su merecido

deserts

[dɪˈzɜːrts] npl
to get one's just deserts → n'avoir que ce qu'on mérite

deserts

plVerdienste pl; (= reward: also iro) → verdiente Belohnung; (= punishment)verdiente Strafe; according to one’s desertsnach seinen Verdiensten; to get one’s just desertsbekommen, was man verdient hat, seine gerechte Belohnung bekommen

deserts

[dɪˈzɜːts] npl to get one's just desertsavere ciò che ci si merita
References in classic literature ?
There is nothing, Umbopa, that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross, save a mountain and a desert of which you are spared the knowledge, if love leads him and he holds his life in his hands counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or lose it as Heaven above may order.
As a virtuous lion Nigh the daughters of deserts roaring
Some portions of it along the rivers may partially be subdued by agriculture, others may form vast pastoral tracts, like those of the East; but it is to be feared that a great part of it will form a lawless interval between the abodes of civilized man, like the wastes of the ocean or the deserts of Arabia; and, like them, be subject to the depredations of the marauder.
The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent.
Plan of the Salt Lake expedition Great sandy deserts Sufferings from thirst Ogden's River Trails and smoke of lurking savages Thefts at night A trapper's revenge Alarms of a guilty conscience A murderous victory Californian mountains Plains along the Pacific Arrival at Monterey Account of the place and neighborhood Lower California Its extent The Peninsula Soil Climate Production Its settlements by the Jesuits Their sway over the Indians Their expulsion Ruins of a missionary establishment Sublime scenery Upper California Missions Their power and policy Resources of the country Designs of foreign nations
Because there is a deadly desert all around that fairy country, which no one is able to cross.
Walking beyond the line of trees they saw before them a fearful, dismal desert, everywhere gray sand.
For six hours they rode rapidly across the burning desert, avoiding the oases near which their way led.
But Jacinto would not let them, making them desert.
About three hours after, when we were entered upon a desert of about fifteen or sixteen miles over, we knew by a cloud of dust they raised, that the enemy was at hand, and presently they came on upon the spur.
The appearance of this part of Africa was, moreover, quite calculated to inspire alarm: the desert was gradually expanding around them; not another village was to be seen--not even a collection of a few huts; and vegetation also was disappearing.
Westward the fertile Land of Ev suddenly ended a little way from the palace, and the girl could see miles and miles of sandy desert that stretched further than her eyes could reach.