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

For dessert, the non-cake-loving couple went for a traditional millefoglie, a multi-layered cake of layers of custard and very thin puff pastry. Brooke Porter Katz, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Couple Took Over a Small Town in Italy for Their Medieval-Inspired Wedding," 28 Feb. 2019 After dinner, the lion dancers led guests out of the tent and onto Café Chiu for dessert. David Nash, Town & Country, "How to Throw the Ultimate Chinese New Year Celebration," 22 Feb. 2019 Sadoma would use this cheese to stuff the vareniki and serve the dumpling with sugar for a dessert. Ilaf Esuf, SELF, "How 10 People Cook the Foods They Grew Up With After Immigrating to the United States," 4 Jan. 2019 Or if the kids had ice cream for dessert, make sure to the put the dishes in the dishwasher. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "6 Tips For Teen Babysitters That Are Totally Life-Changing," 21 Dec. 2018 At La Banane, in the Trinity Bellwoods neighborhood, save room for the Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg for dessert. Kris Frieswick, WSJ, "Canada’s City of the Future Rides a New Wave," 4 Dec. 2018 For dessert, nothing beats fresh blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Heidi Mitchell, House Beautiful, "This Lake Michigan House Was Built With Summertime In Mind," 16 Aug. 2018 And for dessert, a song that sounds as sweet as Grandma's sweet potato pie recipe tastes. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "35 Thanksgiving Songs About Food, Family, and Gratitude," 24 July 2018 Specialties: Mexican fare such as enchiladas, burritos, tacos, steaks, nachos, Mexican pizza, tamales, flautas, chimichangas, taco salad, seafood, tostadas and nine kinds of fajitas. Plus flan and fried ice cream for dessert. Shonda Talerico Dudlicek, Lake County News-Sun, "El Puerto's menu is full of owner specialties," 13 July 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 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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