\ ˈdesk How to pronounce desk (audio) \

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 Jonathan Fritz, who leads the State Department’s China desk, said at the watch party. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "‘Not just a regional conflict’: US won’t allow China to invade Taiwan, lawmaker says," 13 Jan. 2020 Big-ticket items being sold for $5 include king- and queen-sized beds (including box springs, frames and mattresses), chairs, desks, microwaves, dining room sets (including table and four chairs) and refrigerators. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "Get mattresses, TVs, furniture for $5 at Soaring Eagle’s liquidation sale," 6 Jan. 2020 By the reception desk is a bowl of Prager-themed buttons. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Right-Wing Views for Generation Z, Five Minutes at a Time," 4 Jan. 2020 The colorful desk was an Etsy find, while the magical Cole & Son wallpaper nods to the client's Harry Potter obsession. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "This Family's Brooklyn Brownstone Has Its Own Gaming Nook," 19 Dec. 2019 At the time that inquiry surfaced, an attorney for the police union said the front desk is under constant video surveillance and questioned how officers under such scrutiny could do anything wrong., "A federal grand jury is investigating accusations of overtime fraud in the Boston Police Department, according to two sources familiar with the matter — an inquiry that comes on the heels of the sprawling State Police pay abuse scandal.," 16 Nov. 2019 At her desk is her grandmother's 1954 sewing machine. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A New Berlin artist made a 'Star Wars' bear to honor the late 14-year-old founder of Kaden's Wish," 15 Nov. 2019 Truly, the anchor desk is not as fun as being out and being live. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Out of the news business, former anchor Jineane Ford is still telling stories," 27 Oct. 2019 Because of his constant need for fluids, the Cellas got permission for a water cooler to be installed near his desk at school. Pomerado News, "Disease doesn’t stop determined fourth-grader," 9 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for desk

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for desk

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Desk.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for desk


How to pronounce desk (audio)

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 How to pronounce desk (audio) \

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

Comments on desk

What made you want to look up desk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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