dessert

noun
des·​sert | \ di-ˈzərt How to pronounce dessert (audio) \

Definition of dessert

1 : a usually sweet course or dish (as of pastry or ice cream) usually served at the end of a meal
2 British : a fresh fruit served after a sweet course

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Where does the phrase just deserts come from?

Why do we say that someone has gotten their just deserts? Does this turn of phrase have anything to do with dessert (“a sweet food eaten at the end of a meal”) or desert (“a dry land with few plants and little rainfall”)? In fact, the phrase employs neither of these words. Instead, it uses a completely unrelated word that happens to be pronounced like the word for sweets and spelled like the one for a dry place: desert, meaning “reward or punishment deserved or earned by one’s qualities or acts.” This little-used noun is, as you might have guessed, related to the English verb deserve. It has nothing to do with arid, dry land, or with cookies and ice cream.

Examples of dessert in a Sentence

She doesn't care for rich desserts. Coffee and tea will be served with dessert. We had ice cream and apple pie for dessert.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This dainty French dessert is almost too cute to eat. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Jasmine Madeleines With Lemon-Poppy Seed Glaze," 1 Mar. 2019 In keeping with the circus idea, desserts included cotton candy as well as the more traditional cookies and pies. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Custom Details That Made Kaley Cuoco's Wedding So Dazzling," 16 Jan. 2019 What's a crowd-pleasing dessert everyone will love this holiday weekend? Southern Living, "This Is What Ina Garten Is Baking for Dessert Memorial Day Weekend," 25 May 2018 There are so many great dessert-style oatmeal recipes out there. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Eat Oatmeal Every Day Without Getting Sick of It," 4 Jan. 2019 Chocolatier and cookbook author Valerie Gordon’s namesake dessert shop will hold a pop-up pie shop called Pie & Lemonade on July 3. Sara Cagle, latimes.com, "Where to pick up pie for the Fourth of July," 27 June 2018 Imren has a delicious bakery for savory and sweet baked goods and a dessert ice cream shop. Vogue, "This New Turkish Swimsuit Line Is Giving ’90s Minimalism an Athletic Edge," 22 May 2019 Your holiday dessert table could use a little more character — and these sheep, pig, bunny, and chick cookies will do the trick. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Easy Vanilla Sugar Cookies That'll Bring Spring Cheer to Your Holiday Table," 27 Mar. 2019 For Amy Morris and Anna Polonsky, a decade-long friendship blossomed over dessert. Shoko Wanger, House Beautiful, "This Woman-Run Studio Designs Gorgeous Restaurants You’ll Want to Call Home," 13 Feb. 2019

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

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dessert

Middle French, from desservir to clear the table, from des- de- + servir to serve, from Latin servire

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More Definitions for dessert

dessert

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dessert

: sweet food eaten after the main part of a meal

dessert

noun
des·​sert | \ di-ˈzərt How to pronounce dessert (audio) \

Kids Definition of dessert

: a sweet food eaten at the end of a meal

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Comments on dessert

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