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.

Primary Meanings of desert

leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
arid land with little or no vegetation
Full Definitions of desert

v leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch

“The mother deserted her children”
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

v leave behind

“the students deserted the campus after the end of exam period”
Type of:
go away, go forth, leave
go away from a place

v 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”
desert one's party or group of friends, for example, for one's personal advantage
Type of:
flee, fly, take flight
run away quickly

n 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

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