de·​sid·​er·​a·​tum di-ˌsi-də-ˈrä-təm How to pronounce desideratum (audio)
-ˈrā- How to pronounce desideratum (audio)
plural desiderata di-ˌsi-də-ˈrä-tə How to pronounce desideratum (audio)
: something desired as essential
detached individuality does not seem to be a desideratum of the Vedantic mindRobert Bierstedt

Did you know?

We'd like to introduce you to some close cousins of the common word desire. All trace their roots to the Latin sīder-, or sīdus, which has historically been understood to mean "heavenly body," but which may also have an older, non-celestial meaning of "mark, target, goal." Whether etymologically starry or grounded, dēsīderāre, meaning "to long for," was born when Latin de- was prefixed to sīder-. Dēsīderāre begat Anglo-French desirer, which in turn brought forth English desire, desirous, and desirable in the 13th and 14th centuries, with desideration following in the 15th. Then, in the 17th century, English acquired desiderate ("to wish for") and desideratum (desiderata in the plural), 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 The Trump administration has sought nothing less than a reformulation of U.S. policy on the two-state solution, bringing it in line with Netanyahu’s desiderata Among Netanyahu’s enablers, however, one partner stands out. Aaron David Miller, Foreign Affairs, 30 June 2020 Some of the author costs are used to pay reviewers, causing one to question whether the process is always unbiased, as is the desideratum. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 4 Apr. 2015 Diversity isn’t necessarily an ethical desideratum in a collection. New York Times, 28 Sep. 2021 But there’s another overall desideratum: The system has to be straightforward enough to be managed easily — to get large numbers of people vaccinated as swiftly as possible. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 23 Feb. 2021 Remaining at home is invariably the desideratum for most among the elderly, and this includes the wish to die at home. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 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, 22 Oct. 2019 Airports supply the greatest desideratum of physical retail: foot traffic. Daniel Gross, Slate Magazine, 7 Sep. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'desideratum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, neuter of desideratus — see desiderate

First Known Use

1652, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of desideratum was in 1652


Dictionary Entries Near desideratum

Cite this Entry

“Desideratum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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