\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

While working as an exhibitions manager at University College London, Susie Chan kept as many as eight pairs of sneakers under her desk, the result of her regular runs before work. Saumya Vaishampayan, WSJ, "Midday Workouts Are Great. Smelly Sneakers Under Your Desk, Not So Much," 1 Feb. 2019 The kids who sneaked Game Boys under their desk in the ‘90s now have wrinkles and mortgages, but the games themselves have been preserved in amber. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The internet’s horrified with Detective Pikachu," 12 Nov. 2018 Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder after he was arrested hiding under a desk at the newspaper’s Annapolis, Maryland office following the shooting. Abigail Abrams, Time, "What to Know About the Suspected Capital Gazette Shooter," 29 June 2018 The changes are in a budget bill sitting on Brown’s desk. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "'Female-dominated' jobs erased in California state government," 27 June 2018 Away from his temporary, closet-sized office at Boise State, Gary Van Tol’s desk at home is the family’s kitchen table. Dave Southorn, idahostatesman, "Boise State baseball is a field of dreams right now. This man's job is to build it," 15 June 2018 Legislation pushed by two Neuqua Valley High School students to have Illinois better define when and how students return to class or activities after a concussion was recently advanced by the General Assembly and moved to the governor’s desk. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Concussion protocol measure initiated by Neuqua Valley students advances to governor's desk," 1 June 2018 Maria Correa hid under a desk, clutching her 4-month-old son, Angel, while the violence unfolded. Amanda Seitz, The Seattle Times, "Chicago hospital shooting claims 3 lives; gunman also dead," 19 Nov. 2018 Take it to the office for under-desk use, or keep it at home for comforting warmth while watching a favorite Christmas movie, cup of cocoa in hand. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "People Are Obsessed With This $46 Heating Pad That’s Like a Sleeping Bag for Your Feet," 15 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about desk

Statistics for desk

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for desk

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!