\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

In October of 2015, a Black girl in South Carolina was ripped out of her desk and thrown across the room by a police officer in the school for allegedly refusing to put away her cell phone. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 Quotas—the practice of setting aside a predetermined number of desks for students of a certain race—have been unlawful in public universities since 1978, when the Supreme Court declared them so in Bakke. Jay Willis, GQ, "The Trump Administration Is Hell-Bent on Ending Affirmative Action," 3 July 2018 Beyond those doors is a room that looks like an election-night television studio — large, with lots of people who look very busy at lots of desks. James Barron, New York Times, "Don’t Hate Her. She’s Just the (Subway) Messenger.," 1 July 2018 Large numbers of Deutsche Bank executives and traders are jumping ship, including most of the convertible-bond trading desk. Steven Arons,, "Why Deutsche Bank Can’t Just Shake Off Its Problems," 24 June 2018 At one point after a contentious exchange, a detention center employee taped pieces of paper to a window in front of her desk, blocking the Congress members’ view. NBC News, "First lady Melania Trump makes statement on family separations as protests grow," 17 June 2018 In the bottom shelf of Gary Combs' desk is a newspaper from May 31, 2013, a week after Josh Burton's fatal accident and the day after his funeral. Jonathan Streetman, Post-Tribune, "Carvers making statue of driver killed at Indiana race track," 15 June 2018 As the music from the film started playing, Travolta stood in front of Fallon's desk, doing a short rendition from the end of the film as Fallon tried to follow along. Matthew Wilson, USA TODAY, "Watch: John Travolta teaches Jimmy Fallon his dance moves from 'Grease'," 14 June 2018 On a recent Friday — when Tribe is free for anyone to use — Philange Brutus, 37, a networks coordinator for the non-profit group Catalyst, was seated at one of the space's co-working desks. Rob Wile, miamiherald, "In a long-neglected Miami neighborhood, a new co-working space stirs to life," 30 May 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

14 Oct 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

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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