\ 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

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 Lawmakers are required to send a final plan to Newsom’s desk by June 15. John Myers, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 Just this week, the House approved of the measure and sent it to President Biden's desk. Ben Ray Luján, CNN, 12 May 2022 Then adding it to your desk is as simple as sticking a magnet to your fridge. Nina Molina, WSJ, 5 May 2022 My focus is broken a million times a day because people just come up to my desk to hang out and talk. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 4 May 2022 As a brief introduction, there was a large amount of legislative activity on clean energy tax credits last year, but no bills that made it to the president's desk. Tax Notes Staff, Forbes, 3 May 2022 The Senate passed the bipartisan Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act by unanimous consent earlier this month, and the House sent it to Biden's desk on a vote of 417 to 10. Grayson Quay, The Week, 30 Apr. 2022 The House has passed a bill allowing the Biden administration to lend or lease weapons to Ukraine and other eastern European countries, sending the bill to the president's desk. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 29 Apr. 2022 Lawmakers face a May 13 deadline to send bills to Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s desk. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of desk

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

History and Etymology for desk

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.

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Time Traveler for desk

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

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Desk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for desk


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on desk

Nglish: Translation of desk for Spanish Speakers

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


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