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

And because nothing tastes better than free, on the second Tuesday of every month, Cesarina will feature a new tableside dessert that’s on the house with dinner. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cesarina debuts summer menu and — gasp! — a dessert to rival its tiramisù," 18 July 2019 Cheung offers a single dessert: a sweet rice dumpling barely visible in a pool of salted caramel with a shower of toasted cashews and black and white sesame seeds. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Queen’s English brings Hong Kong’s sizzle to Columbia Heights," 17 July 2019 For $100, festival goers will get into the building an hour early and enjoy a three-taco plate with chips and salsa and a dessert of Mexican chocolate cake. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Real, Wild and Woody craft beer festival is 'a love letter' to Arizona's beer culture," 16 July 2019 Deft unexpected touches abound — like a dessert of strawberry shortcake, encased in a perfect cube of white chocolate. Rand Richards Cooper, courant.com, "Review: M/BAR in Mystic turns out premium eats and brims with brashness and flair," 12 July 2019 Without it, the Pavlova will be a gentler, more subtle dessert. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "This Dessert Is Worthy of a Diva, or Two," 12 July 2019 Joining Yamper is Alcremie, which is literally a walking dessert. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The latest Pokémon Sword and Shield monsters are made of coal and whipped cream," 8 July 2019 Entertaining this summer and need a guilt-free dessert? NBC News, "A light and refreshing summer dessert: Vegan Panna Cotta," 23 June 2019 Gelato is also churned at a slower speed, which means that there’s less air incorporated, giving you a sweeter, denser dessert—which still tastes creamier despite having less fat. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "How to Get a Degree in Gelato," 22 June 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

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

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something desired as essential

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