• WordNet 3.6
    • v desert leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch "The mother deserted her children"
    • v desert leave behind "the students deserted the campus after the end of exam period"
    • v desert desert (a cause, a country or an army), often in order to join the opposing cause, country, or army "If soldiers deserted Hitler's army, they were shot"
    • n desert arid land with little or no vegetation
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The Death of a Deserter The Death of a Deserter
Red Mountains Desert Red Mountains Desert
The bird flew away, and carried me from this desert island The bird flew away, and carried me from this desert island

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Thirteen percent of the human population reside in deserts
    • Desert A deserted or forsaken region; a barren tract incapable of supporting population, as the vast sand plains of Asia and Africa which are destitute of moisture and vegetation. "A dreary desert and a gloomy waste."
    • Desert A tract, which may be capable of sustaining a population, but has been left unoccupied and uncultivated; a wilderness; a solitary place. "He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.""Before her extended
      Dreary and vast and silent, the desert of life."
    • a Desert Of or pertaining to a desert; forsaken; without life or cultivation; unproductive; waste; barren; wild; desolate; solitary; as, they landed on a desert island. "He . . . went aside privately into a desert place.""Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
      And waste its sweetness on the desert air."
    • n Desert That which is deserved; the reward or the punishment justly due; claim to recompense, usually in a good sense; right to reward; merit. "According to their deserts will I judge them.""Andronicus, surnamed Pius
      For many good and great deserts to Rome."
      "His reputation falls far below his desert ."
    • Desert (Mil) To abandon (the service) without leave; to forsake in violation of duty; to abscond from; as, to desert the army; to desert one's colors.
    • v. i Desert To abandon a service without leave; to quit military service without permission, before the expiration of one's term; to abscond. "The soldiers . . . deserted in numbers."
    • Desert To leave (especially something which one should stay by and support); to leave in the lurch; to abandon; to forsake; -- implying blame, except sometimes when used of localities; as, to desert a friend, a principle, a cause, one's country. "The deserted fortress."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The desert tortoise can live without having to drink any water. It extracts the water it needs from the vegetation it eats
    • desert To abandon, either in a good or a bad sense; forsake; hence, to cast off or prove recreant to: as, to desert a falling house; a deserted village; to desert a friend or a cause.
    • desert To leave without permission; forsake; escape from, as the service in which one is engaged, in violation of duty: as, to desert an army; to desert one's colors; to desert a ship.
    • desert To quit a service or post without permission; run away: as, to desert from the army.
    • desert Deserted; uncultivated; waste; barren; uninhabited.
    • desert Pertaining to or belonging to a desert; inhabiting a desert: as, the desert folk.
    • n desert A desert place or region; a waste; a wilderness; specifically, in geography, a region of considerable extent which is almost if not quite destitute of vegetation, and hence uninhabited, chiefly on account of an insufficient supply of rain: as, the desert of Sahara; the Great American Desert. The presence of large quantities of movable sand on the surface adds to the desert character of a region. The word is chiefly and ahnost exclusively used with reference to certain regions in Arabia and northern Africa and others lying in central Asia. (See steppe.) The only region in North America to which the word is applied is the Great American Desert, a tract of country south and west of Great Salt Lake, once occupied by the waters of that lake when they extended over a much larger area than they now occupy. The name Great American Desert was originally given to the unexplored region lying beyond the Mississippi, without any special designation of its limits. Colonel Dodge, U. S. A., says in “The Plains of the Great West” (1877): ”When I was a schoolboy my map of the United States showed between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains a long and broad white blotch, upon which was printed in small capitals ‘The Great American Desert—Unexplored.’ … What was then regarded as a desert supports, in some portions, thriving populations.” In Fremont's report the Great Basin is frequently spoken of as “the Desert.” It is also called the Great Desert Basin.
    • n desert = Syn, Wilderness, Desert. Strictly, a wilderness is a wild, unreclaimed region, uninhabited and uncultivated, while a desert is largely uncultivable and uninhabitable owing to lack of moisture. A wilderness may be full of luxuriant vegetation. In a great majority of the places where desert occurs in the authorized version of the Bible, the revised version changes it to wilderness.
    • n desert A deserving; that which makes one deserving of reward or punishment; merit or demerit; good conferred, or evil inflicted, which merits an equivalent return: as, to reward or punish men according to their deserts. [When used absolutely, without contrary indication, the word always has a good sense.]
    • n desert That which is deserved; reward or penalty merited.
    • n desert Synonyms Desert, Merit, Worth. Desert expresses most and worth least of the thought or expectation of reward. None of them suggests an actual claim. He is a man of great worth or excellence; intellectual worth; moral worth; the merits of the piece are small; he is not likely to get his deserts.
    • n desert See dessert.
    • n desert Specifically — In phytogeography, one of the three principal types of Schimper's climatic formations, the result of excessive drought or cold. In desert all surviving vegetation is stunted and the difference between woodland and grass-land (the other two grand types) is obliterated.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years
    • n Desert de-zėrt′ the reward or punishment deserved: claim to reward: merit—adj. Desert′less, without merit.
    • v.t Desert de-zėrt′ to leave: to forsake
    • v.i Desert to run away: to quit a service, as the army, without permission
    • adj Desert dez′ėrt deserted: desolate: uninhabited: uncultivated: a desolate or barren place: a wilderness: a solitude.
    • ***


  • Samuel Ullman
    Samuel Ullman
    “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.”
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    “Ah! what would the world be to us If the children were no more? We should dread the desert behind us Worse than the dark before.”
  • Albert Camus
    “As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.”
  • Seneca
    “A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two.”
  • James Graham
    James Graham
    “He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, That dares not put it to the touch, To gain or lose it all.”
  • Christian Nevell Bovee
    “Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.”


Just deserts - If a bad or evil person gets their just deserts, they get the punishment or suffer the misfortune that it is felt they deserve.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. désert, L. desertum, from desertus, solitary, desert, pp. of deserere, to desert; de-, + serere, to join together. See Series
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. desert—L. desertum, deserĕre, to desert, unbind.


In literature:

A desert is another kind of wild place.
"The Wonders of the Jungle" by Prince Sarath Ghosh
I am glad we are going into the desert once again.
"In the Mahdi's Grasp" by George Manville Fenn
I guess you've lived on the desert until you are real brown.
"Tabitha at Ivy Hall" by Ruth Alberta Brown
The Bayuda desert route also had been cleared of dervishes by these and by neighbouring tribesmen.
"Khartoum Campaign, 1898" by Bennet Burleigh
The other enemy was Catharine, whom he had deserted for an unworthy favorite.
"Historic Tales, Vol. 8 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
He is found in fertile districts, as well as in the most remote deserts.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
She hurried up the deserted street, past the cathedral.
"A German Pompadour" by Marie Hay
In short, it is impossible to conceive anything more deserted, or more wild than this region.
"Celebrated Travels and Travellers" by Jules Verne
When Benson leased it two years ago it was merely sand hummocks and mesquite, like the rest of the desert.
"The Desert Fiddler" by William H. Hamby
An act of parliament for a general and free pardon to deserters from the service and others.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth

In poetry:

For still the desert lies
My thirsting soul before;
O living waters, rise
Within me evermore.
"I Hunger and I Thirst" by John Samuel Bewley Monsell
Lo! in the far off desert,
Upon that tented ground,
Are many hundred thousands
Of weary travellers found.
"The Great Physician" by Mary Ann H T Bigelow
'Tis not to turn the engine,
'Tis not the field to till,
That, for the meed you gain,
Might be a desert still!
"Our Summons" by Ernest Jones
Not deserted quite.
I ventured, when you left, to make it mine,
Because you loved it when a boy, my lord.
"Within and Without: Part II: A Dramatic Poem" by George MacDonald
"To thee the world is like a tomb,
A desert's naked shore;
To us, in unimagined bloom,
It brightens more and more!
"A Day Dream" by Emily Jane Bronte
Thus the wrecked mariner may strive
Some desert shore to gain,
Secure of life, if he survive
The fury of the main.
"Mortals! Around Your Destined Heads" by William Cowper

In news:

LONDON — A British soldier has given birth to a boy while serving in Afghanistan at the same desert camp where Prince Harry is deployed and a Taliban attack last week killed two US Marines.
Before he went overseas, Brad Fenske gave his four-year-old son Daniel a camoflauged pillow, just like the one he will use in the desert.
The College of the Desert softball claimed the Foothill conference title for only the second time in history, and the first time since 2004.
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm unde construction Photo: Basin and Range Watch.
Two mine workers look at the main shaft hoist area of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the South Gobi desert in Mongolia on Sept 27 2010.
Interment followed at Desert View Cemetery in Win-slow.
From all across the desert they came, with luminescent wires in their hair or war paint on their faces.
Writer and a crafter who is shaking off her city-corporate skin for desert duds.
Marvel at the mountain ranges, waterfalls and desert landscapes that Wild author Cheryl Strayed trekked past during her Pacific Crest Trail hike.
Pour mixture into desert bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
One bush up in the Mojave Desert has become famous as The World's Oldest Living Thing.
A cyber security expert is helping the Air Force extend Internet access into the middle of the desert.
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin, dunes have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dune field.
Soil Crust Communities of the California Desert.
Sadly, Desert Nomads Cultivate Their Garden.

In science:

Taking into account that Sandage-Loeb test is unique in its coverage of the redshift desert and available in the near future, we explore the cosmic time evolution behavior of the source redshift for holographic dark energy model, an important competing cosmological model.
Exploring holographic dark energy model with Sandage-Loeb test
In particular, recently Corasaniti et al. employed Sandage-Loeb test to constrain dark energy models with high significance within the redshif t desert 2 < z < 5, where other dark energy probes are unable to provide useful information about the expansion history of our universe.
Exploring holographic dark energy model with Sandage-Loeb test
After Sandage-Loeb test is reviewed, we shall extensively investigate its potential power in constraint on holographic dark energy model, where we furthermore go beyond the traditional Sandage-Loeb test within the redshift desert to propose a new cosmological probe at low redshifts to constrain the model better.
Exploring holographic dark energy model with Sandage-Loeb test
With the foreseen development of very large telescopes, and the availability of spectrographs of unprecedented resolution, the quasar absorption lines typical of the Lyman-α forest provide a powerful tool to measure the velocity shift within the redshift desert[11, 22].
Exploring holographic dark energy model with Sandage-Loeb test
Thus it is advantageous to employ Sandage-Loeb test to distinguish holographic dark energy models among different values of Ω0 m within the redshift desert.
Exploring holographic dark energy model with Sandage-Loeb test