archaic : a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract
deserted; deserting; deserts
: to leave in the lurch
desert a friend in trouble
: to abandon (military service) without leave
: to quit one's post, allegiance, or service without leave or justification
especially : to abandon military duty without leave and without intent to return
: deserved reward or punishment —usually used in plural
got their just deserts
Noun (1) Satellite images taken this year and 20 years ago show that the desert is in retreat thanks to a resurgence of trees. —Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, 14-20 Oct. 2006 The coastal plain is a desert in terms of precipitation—less than six inches fall annually—but what falls as snow stays to be later distributed by the wind. —John Hildebrand, Harper's, November 2003 The house finch, a songbird native to the Western desert, has proved to be highly adaptable, having rapidly colonized the Eastern states after its release on Long Island in the early 1940's. —Jane E. Brody, New York Times, 1 Jan. 2002 Adjective While my very American mother swabbed the dishes, Dad lingered at the dinner table, recreating in visceral detail the taste of mint in a Bedouin teacup under a desert sky, or the golden plumage of his father's saluki dogs, or the filigreed robes of the young king at the camel races. —Diana Abu-Jaber, Vogue, May 2007 … the place in the Texas Panhandle where Highway 66 rolled down off the land of farms and ranches into the beginnings of the desert grassland and red-rock country that dominated New Mexico. —Susan Croce Kelly, Route 66, 1988 Verb Boulet saw his longtime partner desert him in the midst of the storm, then had his wife and daughter skip town in its aftermath. —Mike Flaherty, TV Guide, 10-16 Sept. 2007 Left alone for a moment, he feels mournful, bereft—and then panicky, when he thinks he has been deserted again. —Richard Corliss, Time, 7 Mar. 2005 But now the building seemed deserted at two in the afternoon, and I soon learned that the paper, incredibly, was forced to advertise for applicants to the staff. —Arthur Miller, Timebends, 1987 The inhabitants had deserted the town. She had been married for just over a year when her husband deserted her. He was deserted by his friends and family. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
NounThe 4,000-square-mile reservation in the desert west of Tucson shares a long border with Mexico. —Julia Ainsley, NBC News, 1 June 2023 The scenery was spectacular, with the blooming cactus and wildflowers a testament to the resurrection that comes with spring everywhere, but especially in the desert. —Ray Hanley, Arkansas Online, 29 May 2023 Kyler Murray may not be ready to start the season after tearing his ACL in December, so 2023 might be a bit of a reset in the desert. —Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 26 May 2023 Indeed, the ghost town in the California desert has continued to attract attention since its untimely end, and now the new buyer will leave another chapter in its more than 70-year history. —Mario Abad, Robb Report, 23 May 2023 The new analysis found that Phoenix, which is heavily reliant on air-conditioning to keep residents cool in the desert heat, would experience immense loss of life and illness if a citywide blackout during a heat wave lasted for two days, with power gradually restored over the next three days. —Michael Levenson, New York Times, 23 May 2023 Out here, at the edge of the vast Great Basin, there are more people camping out in the arid desert than sleeping in hotel rooms. —oregonlive, 17 May 2023 Temperatures are expected to climb to the lower to mid-90s across valley and desert areas through the middle of next week. —Vanessa Arredondo, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2023 His instincts proved correct: The mission ended with a helicopter crash in the desert and the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen, with the last of the 52 American hostages remaining in captivity until January 1981. —Harrison Smith, BostonGlobe.com, 12 May 2023
AdjectiveThe ban covers the non-desert regions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and most of Orange County and prohibits outdoor and residential burning of wood and manufactured logs. —Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2021 The temporary ban applies to areas within the South Coast Air Basin, which includes Orange County and non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to a news release from the agency. —Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 18 Dec. 2022 In northern Colombia, in a semi-desert region that juts into the Caribbean Sea, its dusty roads traveled by the Wayúu people with their blankets and colorful backpacks, is Cerrejón — one of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world. —Pablo Correa, Discover Magazine, 8 Dec. 2022 Nor do the sunbaked, semi-desert grasslands of Prescott National Forest south of Camp Verde look like the kind of place the wispy, water-loving trees would thrive. —Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 15 Sep. 2022 Construction of the mega-project is expected to start in earnest in the Karoo, a semi-desert natural region of the country, in 2022. —Conrad Onyango, Quartz, 1 Feb. 2022 In non-desert environments, human waste can decompose when buried in soil rich in organic material, according to Kimberly Finch, BLM Utah communications director. —The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Sep. 2021 Along those skinny stretches of green, the ancient groups built villages, irrigated fields and planted corn, chili peppers and other crops, likely borrowed from non-desert farming villages to the north and east. —Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Aug. 2021 Much of eastern Washington has an arid, semi-desert environment that specializes in warm-climate wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. —Megan Mccluskey, Time, 1 July 2021
VerbFans desert Disney Star Wars At the heart of this mess is Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. —Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 3 June 2023 To keep the audience from deserting after the popular piece, Catulli was performed first. —Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 12 May 2023 They may have been killed, wounded, captured or deserted, but their status is unknown. —USA TODAY, 8 May 2023 These voters were a crucial part of Trump’s coalition, but his grip on this cohort was always a little loose—and there are signs many are ready to desert him for the right candidate. —Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 14 Apr. 2023 The influx has provided an unexpected bloom of urban liveliness to cities that were all but deserted a few months ago. —Serhii Korolchuk, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2023 Available at Amazon [ Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix ] Formulated for both jungle and desert cacti and succulents, this soil mix promotes effective drainage to help your plants grow. —Jennifer Blair, Chicago Tribune, 1 May 2023 Another Russian, a member of the Sakha ethnic group concentrated in the Siberian region of Yakutia, also deserted. —Neil Macfarquhar, New York Times, 30 Apr. 2023 But Sunday and Monday, cold rain and wind changed the nature of the lake, which was mostly deserted. —USA TODAY, 18 Apr. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'desert.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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