\ 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

But Kavanaugh’s tenure in George W. Bush’s White House as staff secretary — a senior position that controls documents moving across the president’s desk — has emerged as a last-minute snag. Robert Costa, Washington Post, "Trump weighs top picks for Supreme Court amid last-minute maneuvering," 9 July 2018 ARRIVE Palm Springs, Palm Springs, California Palm Springs destination ARRIVE specializes in unconventionality (there’s no front desk; instead, guests check in at the bar). Jenna Gottlieb, Vogue, "The Hottest Hotel Pools to Cool Down In This Summer," 21 June 2018 With the Supreme Court’s decision, my mission is to get it through Congress and down to the president’s desk for signature this year. Gretchen Carlson, Fortune, "Gretchen Carlson: The Supreme Court Tried to End #MeToo. Here’s How We’re Fighting Back.," 31 May 2018 Across the room and just under the window is a desk where Graci likes to work in the morning before heading to his office at Graci Interiors. Sue Strachan,, "Why downsize? Designer makes the move from condominium to home in style," 30 May 2018 In the interim, there were two World Wars, one Great Depression, the terroristic tenure of Joe McCarthy and a generation of school children drilled to crawl beneath their desks in the event of nuclear attack. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "However polarized our politics seem, America has made it through worse," 3 July 2018 When the fire alarm sounded, none of the high school students left their desks to exit the classroom but waited to see what was next. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Stratford student wants to make schools feel safe," 3 July 2018 This from a guy Akash Singh had fired from This Side of Capital, a guy who’d had to clear out his desk within an hour, as a security guard hulked in the corner, watching his every move. Gary Shteyngart, The New Yorker, "The Luck of Kokura," 18 June 2018 For years, Susan Stein, senior curator at Monticello, kept in her desk a newspaper article published just before she was hired by Monticello in 1986. Andrew M. Davenport, Smithsonian, "Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative," 14 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

16 Sep 2018

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

Comments on desk

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to make amends

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