de·​sid·​er·​a·​tum | \ di-ˌsi-də-ˈrä-təm How to pronounce desideratum (audio) , -ˌzi-, -ˈrā- How to pronounce desideratum (audio) \
plural desiderata\ di-​ˌsi-​də-​ˈrä-​tə How to pronounce desideratum (audio) , -​ˌzi-​ , -​ˈrā-​ \

Definition of desideratum

: something desired as essential detached individuality does not seem to be a desideratum of the Vedantic mind— Robert Bierstedt

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We'd like to introduce you to some close cousins of "desire." All trace their roots to the Latin sider-, meaning "heavenly body." Desiderare, meaning "to long for," was born when Latin de- was prefixed to "sider-." "Desiderare" begat Anglo-French desirer, which in turn brought forth English "desire," "desirous," and "desirable" in the 13th and 14th centuries. But many years later, in the 17th century, English acquired "desideration" ("longing"), "desiderate" ("to wish for"), and finally "desideratum," all of which can lay claim to direct ancestry from "desiderare."

Examples of desideratum in a Sentence

a list of political desiderata
Recent Examples on the Web Remaining at home is invariably the desideratum for most among the elderly, and this includes the wish to die at home. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "‘Elderhood’ Review: The Way We Age Now," 17 Jan. 2020 We marketing teams came to believe we alone could save startups from untimely deaths by achieving the desideratum to end all desiderata: product/market fit. Wired, "Tech Marketing Is Losing Its Cool," 22 Oct. 2019 Airports supply the greatest desideratum of physical retail: foot traffic. Daniel Gross, Slate Magazine, "Your Misery at the Airport Is Great for Business," 7 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desideratum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desideratum

1652, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for desideratum

Latin, neuter of desideratus — see desiderate

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The first known use of desideratum was in 1652

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Cite this Entry

“Desideratum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of desideratum

formal : something that is needed or wanted

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