desk·​top | \ ˈdesk-ˌtäp How to pronounce desktop (audio) \

Definition of desktop

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the top surface of a desk also : an area or window on a computer screen in which icons are arranged in a manner analogous to objects on top of a desk
2 : a desktop computer



Definition of desktop (Entry 2 of 2)

: of a size that can be conveniently used on a desk or table desktop computers — compare laptop — see also desktop publishing

Examples of desktop in a Sentence

Noun The desktop was covered with books and stacks of papers. He created a new folder on his desktop. Adjective She is working on a desktop video project.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When iTunes launched in January 2001, Apple’s software was a place to organize the MP3s and other music files on your desktop computer. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "What the Death of iTunes Says About Our Digital Habits," 2 Jan. 2020 The absolute top for this far more reasonable machine is around $3,000, and even that is probably more than just about anyone needs to spend on a desktop computer in 2019. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Apple’s top-of-the-line computer costs more than a BMW," 10 Dec. 2019 Special investigators with the attorney general’s office assisted by the Hot Springs Village police seized a laptop, desktop computer, thumb drive, cellphone and tablet in the investigation, according to the release. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "Arkansas man arrested on 30 child pornography charges," 6 Dec. 2019 Untethering e-commerce from the desktop computer was a watershed moment. NBC News, "Do we still need Cyber Monday?," 2 Dec. 2019 Using an iPhone, iPad or desktop computer, BrainCheck administers a test that interprets a patient's level of cognitive function and creates a personalized treatment plan. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Houston startup raises $8M for product that assesses cognitive impairment, dementia," 8 Oct. 2019 Cincinnati Enquirer readers now can vote for their favorite athletes of the week on their desktop, the mobile web or App. James Weber,, "Vote: Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky high school athletes of the week, Dec. 23," 24 Dec. 2019 To access this digital replica of the print edition and take advantage of these new features, subscribers can visit from your desktop or mobile device. USA TODAY, "Introducing our new and improved USA TODAY eNewspaper!," 17 Dec. 2019 Need a MacBook that can hook up with your new Thunderbolt desktop? NBC News, "10 deals on refurbished Apple computers you don't want to miss," 6 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Encrypted messaging service Telegram for instance, has two desktop apps: One called Telegram and called Telegram Desktop. Reed Albergotti, Washington Post, "Apple suppressed competitors in its App Store--until it got caught, a lawsuit alleges," 20 Dec. 2019 That seems like a smarter way to connect mobile and desktop devices. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "DeX Review: Getting Files and Photos From a Samsung Phone to a Computer Is Easier Than Ever," 14 Nov. 2019 The use of a Xeon processor implies this would be used in servers, of course, but there’s nothing saying that this couldn’t be adapted for a desktop PC. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel shows off the 'Element,' another modular CPU design for servers or workstations," 7 Oct. 2019 While readers have moved in droves toward consuming the news of the day via screen, be it desktop, laptop or phone, the revenue generated by digital ads has yet to match the money once supplied by print advertising. Marc Tracy, New York Times, "A Paradox at the Heart of the Newspaper Crisis," 1 Aug. 2019 In January, Twitter gave a small percentage of users access to a new-look desktop experience. Alex Baker-whitcomb, WIRED, "The Best of Amazon Prime Day, Twitter's Redesign, and More News," 15 July 2019 The announcement comes about a year after Facebook shut down Trending Topics, a feature on desktop computers-only that showed users popular topics being discussed across the social network based on algorithms. Fortune, "Facebook Is Hiring Journalists Ahead of a Closely-Watched Return to News," 20 Aug. 2019 While Instagram was still tiny Zuckerberg identified its explosive growth on mobile phones as the obvious antidote to Facebook’s largely desktop product. Washington Post, "Inside Chris Hughes’s campaign to break up Facebook, the tech ‘monopoly’ he helped create," 25 July 2019 Buyers might be buying fewer desktops, as evidenced by the fact that desktop PC sales grew just 3 percent. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel addresses processor shortages, CEO hunt after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results," 24 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desktop.' 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 desktop


1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1958, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about desktop

Time Traveler for desktop

Time Traveler

The first known use of desktop was in 1925

See more words from the same year

Statistics for desktop

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Desktop.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for desktop


How to pronounce desktop (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of desktop

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the top surface of a desk
: a computer that is designed to be used on a desk or table : a desktop computer
: an area or window on a computer screen in which small pictures (called icons) are arranged like objects on top of a desk



English Language Learners Definition of desktop (Entry 2 of 2)

: of a size that is suitable to be used on a desk or table
: done using a personal computer


desk·​top | \ ˈdesk-ˌtäp How to pronounce desktop (audio) \

Kids Definition of desktop

1 : the top of a desk
2 : a computer that is used on a desk or table and is too big to be moved easily
3 : an area on a computer screen in which items are arranged as if they were objects on top of a desk

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on desktop

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with desktop

Spanish Central: Translation of desktop

Nglish: Translation of desktop for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of desktop for Arabic Speakers

Comments on desktop

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


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!