dessert

noun
des·sert | \di-ˈzərt \

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

Close out the evening with a relaxing cup of coffee and dessert at Casa Rustica (8:30 to 9 p.m.). Carolina Gusman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Local eateries cool the summer heat with chillin' specials during National Ice Cream month," 12 July 2018 Lunch and dinner offer pasta, panini, subs, salads, pizza and desserts, including New York-style cheesecakes, tiramisu and panna cotta. azcentral, "Italian restaurant Maui Pasta in Scottsdale is a story of love, loss, pasta," 6 July 2018 Her passion was hosting people, and serving tea and dessert, and continued to do so even though her illness was taking its toll. courant.com, "Veronica Prokop," 3 July 2018 This high-protein treat can work as a breakfast, dessert, or snack. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "Here's How to Pick a Perfect Melon Every Time," 31 May 2018 Features a Mother of Year Award ceremony, desserts, two drink tickets, silent auction and entertainment. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Celebrate Mother's Day in Louisville at brunch, Churchill Downs & more," 8 May 2018 With three courses and dessert, the entire menu is delicious as a recent dinner confirmed. Dave Eckert, kansascity, "It's time for spring menus at some Kansas City restaurants | The Kansas City Star," 26 Apr. 2018 Many of their other best-sellers are inspired by foods and desserts, like their Toasted Coconut and Lemon Pie sugar scrubs. Maria Cassano, Allure, "You Can Get Handmade Unicorn Bath Bombs at This Best-Selling Etsy Shop," 16 Apr. 2018 The two met at a meet-and-greet during one of her concerts and later went on a separate date for drinks and dessert, in October 2008. Tamara Fuentes, Country Living, "Who Is Mike Fisher? Everything You Need to Know About Carrie Underwood's Husband," 13 Apr. 2018

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 \

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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WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

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