desert: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (dez'urt), [key]
— n.
  1. a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all: The Sahara is a vast sandy desert.
  2. any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil.
  3. an area of the ocean in which it is believed no marine life exists.
  4. (formerly) any unsettled area between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains thought to be unsuitable for human habitation.
  5. any place lacking in something: The town was a cultural desert.
  1. of, pertaining to, or like a desert; desolate; barren.
  2. occurring, living, or flourishing in the desert: a desert tribe; a desert palm.
  3. designed or suitable for wear in the desert, as cool, protective clothing: a big, wide-brimmed desert hat.


Pronunciation: (di-zûrt'), [key]
— v.t.
  1. to leave (a person, place, etc.) without intending to return, esp. in violation of a duty, promise, or the like: He deserted his wife.
  2. (of military personnel) to leave or run away from (service, duty, etc.) with the intention of never returning.
  3. to fail (someone) at a time of need: None of his friends had deserted him.
  1. to forsake or leave one's duty, obligations, etc. (sometimes fol. by from, to, etc.): Many deserted during the food shortage.
  2. (of military personnel) to leave service, duty, etc., with no intention of returning: Troops were deserting to the enemy.


Pronunciation: (di-zûrt'), [key]
— n.
  1. Often,reward or punishment that is deserved: to get one's just deserts.
  2. the state or fact of deserving reward or punishment.
  3. the fact of deserving well; merit; virtue.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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