deserted; deserts; deserting

A desert is a very dry area of land where few plants and animals can live. If you find yourself stranded in the middle of the desert, you'll have no company except for the occasional lizard or scorpion.

Desert comes from the Latin desertus, for abandoned or lying in waste. This can refer to a vast sandy area without vegetation, or any empty, lifeless expanse. As a verb, it means to leave someone or something. A soldier who runs away from the army is called a deserter. Occasionally you'll hear someone say, "He got his just deserts," which doesn't have anything to do with abandonment; it means he got what he deserved.

Definitions of desert
  1. verb
    leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
    “The mother deserted her children”
    synonyms: abandon, desolate, forsake
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    abandon by leaving out in the open air
    walk out
    leave suddenly, often as an expression of disapproval
    maroon, strand
    leave stranded or isolated with little hope of rescue
    type of:
    go and leave behind, either intentionally or by neglect or forgetfulness
  2. verb
    leave behind
    “the students deserted the campus after the end of exam period”
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    type of:
    go away, go forth, leave
    go away from a place
  3. verb
    desert (a cause, a country or an army), often in order to join the opposing cause, country, or army
    “If soldiers deserted Hitler's army, they were shot”
    synonyms: defect
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    desert one's party or group of friends, for example, for one's personal advantage
    type of:
    flee, fly, take flight
    run away quickly
  4. noun
    arid land with little or no vegetation
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    Great Arabian Desert
    a desert on the Arabian Peninsula in southwestern Asia
    Arabian Desert
    a desert in Egypt between the Nile River and the Red Sea
    Atacama Desert
    a desert in northern Chile rich in nitrate and copper deposits
    Great Australian Desert
    general name given to all desert areas in Australia
    Black Rock Desert
    a desert in northwestern Nevada
    Chihuahuan Desert
    a desert in western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico
    Colorado Desert
    an arid region of southeastern California
    Great Salt Desert
    a salt desert in north central Iran
    a desert in eastern Iran
    Death Valley
    a desert area that is part of the Mojave Desert in eastern California and southwestern Nevada; contains the lowest point in North America
    Gibson Desert
    a desert area in western Australia
    Gila Desert
    a desert area in southern Arizona
    Gobi Desert
    a desert in central China
    Great Sandy Desert
    a desert region in northwestern Australia to the north of the Gibson Desert
    Great Victoria Desert
    a desert region in south central Australia to the north of the Nullarbor Plain
    Kalahari Desert
    a desert in southwestern Africa - largely Botswana
    Turkestan Desert
    a desert in Turkmenistan to the south of the Aral Sea
    Kizil Kum
    a desert in Uzbekistan to the southeast of the Aral Sea
    Libyan Desert
    the northeastern part of the Sahara Desert in Libya and Egypt and Sudan
    Mohave Desert
    a desert area in southern California and western Arizona
    Namib Desert
    a desert in Namibia extending along the coast between the high plateau and the Atlantic Ocean
    An Nafud
    a desert in northern Saudi Arabia that is noted for its red sand and violent winds
    Negev Desert
    a desert in southern Israel
    Nubian Desert
    an arid sandstone plateau in northeastern Sudan between the Nile and the Red Sea
    Painted Desert
    a desert on a high plateau in northeastern Arizona
    Patagonian Desert
    a semiarid region in southern South America
    Great Sandy Desert
    a desert in southern Saudi Arabia
    Sahara Desert
    the world's largest desert (3,500,000 square miles) in northern Africa
    Simpson Desert
    a desert region of central Australia
    Sinai Desert
    a desert on the Sinai Peninsula in northeastern Egypt
    Sonoran Desert
    a desert in southwestern Arizona
    Syrian Desert
    a desert of northern Arabia occupying western Iraq, southern Syria, eastern Jordan, and northern Saudi Arabia
    Taklamakan Desert
    a desert in western China
    Great Indian Desert
    a desert to the east of the Indus River in northwestern India and southeastern Pakistan
    type of:
    a major biotic community characterized by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate
    parcel, parcel of land, piece of ground, piece of land, tract
    an extended area of land
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘desert'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Commonly confused words

desert / dessert

A desert is a hot and dry place like the Sahara, but add an s and some whipped cream and you have a dessert, a sweet treat to eat. Dessert has two s's because you always want two. (If you prefer two arid ecosystems, that's on you.)

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