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

The beloved Hostess cupcake is the latest dessert to undergo a colorful glow up, with the company announcing the launch of new limited-edition Unicorn Cupcakes. Shay Spence, PEOPLE.com, "Hostess Cupcakes Are the Latest Food to Get a Unicorn Makeover," 9 Sep. 2019 At its most basic, flan is a simple dessert of milk, eggs and sugar flavored with a splash of vanilla. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "Flantastic! Updating flan with global flavors," 4 Sep. 2019 In fact, banana pudding was once a high-end dessert served at fine events. al, "Serve a meal inspired by Alabama’s 200-year history," 20 Aug. 2019 However, a spokeswoman for the corrections department said there was no dessert on the menu. Fox News, "Bill Cosby’s first prison meal revealed," 28 Sep. 2018 There are only three desserts, and there needn’t be any more. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "Stanford Kitchen a welcome addition to Owings Mills dining scene," 5 July 2018 Bring your favorite apple dessert for a contest and chance to win $100 for first place, $50 for second place or $25 for third place. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Assistance League chapter installs officers," 26 Aug. 2019 So, find a favorite fruit, match a topping and enjoy your wholesome – but still decadent – dessert. Marcy Goldman, Twin Cities, "With less sugar, these cobblers, crisps and crumbles let their fruit flavors shine brighter," 15 Aug. 2019 What mustard did to deserve its own frozen dessert remains to be seen. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Celebrate National Mustard Day with … ice cream?," 1 Aug. 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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