\ ˈdesk \

Definition of desk

1a : 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
2a : 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Officer Pantaleo, who has been on desk duty since the death, faces disciplinary charges of recklessly using force by chokehold and intentional strangulation. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "NYPD Disciplinary Trial in Eric Garner’s Death Set for May," 6 Dec. 2018 The main officer involved in the incident, a four-year veteran of the force, has been put on desk duty pending an investigation. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Texas police officer seen pointing gun at group of boys; mom says he choked her son," 2 Oct. 2018 Layout works somewhat more prosaically: Microsoft customers will create 3D models of machinery, desks, and other objects, then use Layout to place them on a factory floor, office, or retail space. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Remote Assist finally makes the HoloLens useful for anyone," 18 Sep. 2018 Shelby, frustrated that she had been assigned to desk duty by Tulsa police after the shooting, resigned from the agency. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Protesters are angry that Betty Shelby is teaching the course two years after shooting Terence Crutcher.," 28 Aug. 2018 Connor was assigned to desk duty after a video of the harassment, which occurred last month, was posted on Facebook and went viral. USA TODAY, "Police officer resigns, suspect charged with hate crime after woman wearing Puerto Rico shirt harassed," 12 July 2018 The El Paso Police Department said the officer in question has been placed on desk duty and an internal investigation into the incident was launched, according to ABC news. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "El Paso cop pulls gun on group of children, arrests cameraman," 10 July 2018 Florence Falatko’s fifth-grade students at Cromwell Valley Elementary Magnet School do not learn mathematics sitting at their desks, taking notes as their teacher lectures at the whiteboard. Libby Solomon,, "Cromwell Valley teacher wins presidential award for math education," 10 July 2018 Officer Rialmo remains on desk duty while a police panel determines his future. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "$16 Million vs. $4: In Fatal Police Shootings, Payouts Vary Widely," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desk.' 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 desk

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

History and Etymology for desk

Middle English deske, from Medieval Latin desca, modification of Old Italian desco table, from Latin discus dish, disc — more at dish

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Statistics for desk

Last Updated

4 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desk

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

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More Definitions for desk



English Language Learners Definition of desk

: a piece of furniture that is like a table and often has drawers
: a place where people can get information or be served at an office, a hotel, etc.
: the part of a company or organization that deals with a particular subject


\ ˈdesk \

Kids Definition of desk

1 : a piece of furniture with a flat or sloping surface for use in writing or reading
2 : a counter at which a person works especially to help customers

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More from Merriam-Webster on desk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for desk

Spanish Central: Translation of desk

Nglish: Translation of desk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of desk for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about desk

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