: something desired as essential
Did You Know?
We'd like to introduce you to some close cousins of the common word desire. All trace their roots to the Latin sīder-, or sīdus, which has historically been understood to mean "heavenly body," but which may also have an older, non-celestial meaning of "mark, target, goal." Whether etymologically starry or grounded, dēsīderāre, meaning "to long for," was born when Latin de- was prefixed to sīder-. Dēsīderāre begat Anglo-French desirer, which in turn brought forth English desire, desirous, and desirable in the 13th and 14th centuries, with desideration following in the 15th. Then, in the 17th century, English acquired desiderate ("to wish for") and desideratum (desiderata in the plural), all of which can lay claim to direct ancestry from desiderare.
"The strength of his class depended to some extent on sound money management—but depended to a much larger extent on marriages based cynically on the sorts of children likely to be produced. Healthy, charming, wise children were the desiderata." — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Sirens of Titan, 1959
"The year was 1953, and most American children were secretly wishing, praying and writing letters to Santa Claus promising to be nice rather than naughty in return for that ultimate desideratum of gifts: the 'real, live pony.'" — Ken Jennings, The Petoskey (Michigan) News-Review, 24 Dec. 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a verb that means "to have a strong or persistent desire": ha _ _ _ r.VIEW THE ANSWER
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