desk

noun

1
a
: a table, frame, or case with a sloping or horizontal surface especially for writing and reading and often with drawers, compartments, and pigeonholes
b
: a reading table or lectern from which a liturgical service is read
c
: a table, counter, stand, or booth at which a person works
2
a
: a division of an organization specializing in a particular phase of activity
the Russian desk in the Department of State
b
: a seating position according to rank in an orchestra
a first-desk violinist

Examples of desk in a Sentence

an information desk at an airport We will ask for directions to the restaurant at the front desk. We went to the reception desk to check into our room.
Recent Examples on the Web Similar proposals have failed in the past, including an attempt last year that never made it to the governor’s desk, facing opposition by insurance companies that said new mandates would result in higher premiums for all. Mackenzie Mays, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2024 Bills approved by legislators during the General Assembly each year head to the governor's desk for a signature — or a veto, if the state's highest executive disagrees with them. Hannah Pinski, The Courier-Journal, 29 Mar. 2024 Debra Kamin, a reporter on the Real Estate desk at The New York Times, has reported on the settlement and its potential effects on the industry. Josh Ocampo, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2024 Mj Premier Leaf-Print Table Lamp $41 $30 Place this small lamp on your desk or bedside table for a touch of glowing greenery in any room. Lauren Taylor, Southern Living, 28 Mar. 2024 Georgia Squatter Reform Act (HB 1017) was introduced in the current session, has passed both the state House and Senate, and is headed to the Governor's desk. Kinsey Crowley, USA TODAY, 28 Mar. 2024 People canceled their desk rental deals with WeWork and did their work from home with help from videoconferencing platforms like Zoom. Peter Cohan, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Senate lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill to provide this extension on Thursday, sending it to the Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for final approval. Mathew Miranda, Sacramento Bee, 22 Mar. 2024 The quantitative and qualitative work has been married with industry research to conclude that the city could make do with roughly 29 percent less space if employees in some departments share smaller desks. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English deske, dext "reading desk, lectern," borrowed from Medieval Latin descus, desca, variant of discus "raised table, platform," going back to Latin, "discus, kind of plate, gong," borrowed from Greek dískos "discus," in Late Greek also "dish, round mirror, the sun's disk, gong" — more at discus

Note: The e in the British Medieval Latin forms (and subsequent borrowing into Middle English) appears to show influence of the Romance outcome of discus, for which see the note at dish entry 1. The sense "reading desk," presumably originating in monastic usage, is not limited to Britain—compare discus in Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch, which records the meaning in central Europe.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of desk was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near desk

Cite this Entry

“Desk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/desk. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

desk

noun
1
a
: a table, frame, or case with a flat or sloping surface especially for writing and reading
b
: a counter at which a person works
2
a
: a specialized division of an organization (as a newspaper)
city desk
b
: a seating position according to rank in an orchestra

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