desert (di ZURT)
1. To leave (a person, place, etc.) without intending to return; especially, in violation of a duty, promise, or the like: "He deserted his wife."
2. With reference to 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: "He felt that all of his friends had deserted him."
4. Etymology: from Old French deserter, "leave"; literally. "to undo" or "to sever a connection"; from Late Latin desertare, frequently of Latin deserere, "to abandon" from de-, "undo" plus serere, "to join".
desert (DEZ zuhrt)
1. An area of land, usually in very hot climates, that consists only of sand, gravel, or rock with little or no vegetation, no permanent bodies of water, and erratic rainfall.
2. a place or situation that is devoid of some desirable thing or overwhelmed by an undesirable thing:
"They had to live in a town with cultural desert."
3. Etymology: from Old French desert, from Late Latin desertum; literally, "a thing abandoned", a noun use of the neuter past participle of Latin deserere, "to forsake".
desert (diz URT), deserts (diz URTS)
1. Suitable rewards or punishments: "He will get his just deserts when he is punished for keeping his daughter locked away as his sex slave."
2. Etymology: from about 1300, borrowed from Old French deserte, past participle of deservir, "be worthy to have"; from Latin deservire, "to serve well, to devote oneself to".
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
desert, desert, deserts, dessert
To leave, to forsake, or to abandon; AWOL (Absent Without Leave): A person can desert
from the military service during war just once and that would be the final act.
If their nest is disturbed, birds will often desert it.
A dry, barren region: A person can go walking out into the desert without water just once because he or she probably would not survive or do it again.
(di ZURTS) (noun
That which is deserved or a punishment that someone deserves: The people in the community all wanted to see the criminal receive his just deserts.
Sweet food served at the end of a meal: Elvira and Lorene had ice cream and apple pie for their dessert.
While Marta was having her dessert in the restaurant, she was wishing that she could desert her broken down car right there in the desert.
, deserticoles; deserticoled; deserticoling: desert
Living primarily on open ground in an arid or desert region.
, xerocoles; xerocoled; xerocoling: desert
1. Adapting to living in the desert: "The main challenges to xerocoling is that animals must be able to survive with minimal amounts of water and be able to endure extreme heat."
"Some creatures are so adept at xerocoling moisture, or obtaining it from food, that it isn't necessary for them to drink anything."
2. Moving around in the desert: "In order to escape the desert heat, many creatures xerocole mostly at dawn and at night."
2. Etymology: from Greek xeros
, "dry"; and Latin colere
,"to inhabit" or "to live".
Word Entries containing the term:
An area of the sea floor or the bed of a lake more or less devoid of macroscopic organisms, typically with unstable sediment.
An area of sparsely scattered trees with little or no vegetation between; a desert forest.
arctic desert, polar desert
An area, especially in the polar regions, having little or no vegetation due to extremely cold temperatures.
desert habitat (s) (noun)
, desert habitats (pl)
An excessive lack of rain and soils restrict the growth of plants: "Desert habitats have been created because they don't have the means to sustain much in the way of resources for biodiversity."
"It is estimated that approximately one-third of the Earth's land areas consist of desert habitats."
"The earth's largest desert habitat is the African Sahara."
1. A type of soil that develops in arid, or dry, climates.
2. A soil that develops under sparse shrub vegetation in warm to cool arid climates with a light-colored surface soil usually underlain by calcareous material and a hardpan layer.
3. A soil variety typically found in arid climates, usually with little leaching and minimal humus content.
Referred to as an "aridisol" in the nomenclature of the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
A rain shadow desert on the leeward side of a mountain rnge.
Sahara is Arabic for "desert".
A. Starker Leopold and The Editors of LIFE; Time Inc.; New York; 1962.
Thursday: How one feels while crossing a desert on a hot day.