Main definitions of desert in English

: desert1desert2

desert1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Abandon (a person, cause, or organization) in a way considered disloyal or treacherous.

    ‘he deserted his wife and daughter and went back to England’
    • ‘The enormous crowds delighted show organisers who had feared they may have deserted the event after last year's cancellation.’
    • ‘Near the end of the story, deserted by his wife, he returns to descend into alcoholism.’
    • ‘His customers deserted his food kiosk and his wife left him.’
    • ‘By 1914 most of their best-known intellectuals had quarrelled with Lenin's tactics and deserted the party.’
    • ‘I have not deserted the military nor been disloyal to the men and women of the military.’
    • ‘These days most beneficiaries are not deserted wives; they are single women who have had children.’
    • ‘Nonconformists were outraged and many of those who had deserted the party in 1886 came back.’
    • ‘Millions of voters and members have deserted these parties and are seeking an alternative.’
    • ‘Was such a party bound to desert its essential core of supporters, they working class, in its attempt to secure the votes and support of others?’
    • ‘White working class voters are deserting social democratic parties around the western world.’
    • ‘When the Government deserts them, who else is there to listen to the plight of the lottery people?’
    • ‘How was his third wife to know that he had deserted his still-living first wife?’
    • ‘But now is not the time to desert the Labour Party, now is the time to reclaim it.’
    • ‘The menace of grooms deserting their legally wedded wives is rampant.’
    • ‘It fears that its voters, particularly the younger generation, will desert the party if it is seen to capitulate to a unionist agenda.’
    • ‘The millions who until now have been denied political representation have thus far expressed their dissatisfaction and alienation by deserting their old party.’
    • ‘In Germany, opinion polls have indicated that traditional voters are profoundly disillusioned with the Party and are deserting it in droves.’
    • ‘Those were dark times as friends deserted him and fans shunned him.’
    • ‘Moreover, we cannot help but feel sorry for the emotionally lonely jeweler who lacks a wife and is deserted even by his housemaid.’
    • ‘What is worse about Henry's story is that he raised his three sons virtually single-handed after his wife deserted them.’
    • ‘And they are very disaffected with a Labour Party they believe has deserted them.’
    abandoned, forsaken, cast aside, cast off, thrown over, betrayed, jilted
    abandon, leave, give up, cast off, turn one's back on
    renounce, renege on, repudiate, forswear, relinquish, wash one's hands of, have no more truck with, have done with, abjure, disavow
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a number of people) leave (a place), causing it to appear empty.
      ‘good weather came after the summer hordes had deserted the beaches’
      • ‘Glancing up and down the dark street, I noticed how utterly deserted the place was… and how alone we were.’
      • ‘I thought it was a little strange, as it was a Friday night and the place was deserted.’
      • ‘Despite beautiful sunny weather, the parks were virtually deserted.’
      • ‘We get long, panoramic shots of night-time Paris - rooftops, deserted streets, empty bars and restaurants.’
      • ‘Naturally, they must drive along a virtually deserted country road.’
      • ‘Kingston's normally bustling town centre was virtually deserted on Saturday morning as people chose to stay at home to watch the match.’
      • ‘The place was practically deserted, so we had the run of almost every engine to ourselves.’
      • ‘As he scanned the scene inside, it became obvious the place was deserted.’
      • ‘At the end of the winter season and a few weeks away from the start of summer, the place was deserted.’
      • ‘After the hectic activity during daytime, the area is virtually deserted by dusk with the chirping of crickets casting an eerie spell on the setting.’
      • ‘Unfortunately it was raining, windy and cold and when we got there the place was deserted.’
      • ‘When I got back to the depot, the place was deserted.’
      • ‘Today, with it being a Tuesday, the park was virtually deserted.’
      • ‘The usually choc-a-bloc Central Street park was almost deserted - leaving spaces free for shoppers as the council intended.’
      • ‘The place was mostly deserted and the wait staff had assembled in the bar to watch the game.’
      • ‘Perhaps because the hotel is new, the place was almost deserted.’
      • ‘His door flung open to find an empty couch and deserted living room.’
      • ‘The place was deserted so I talked to Terry, the security guard.’
      • ‘Viewers can't help but wonder why the place was deserted, and imagine the noise and fun of the games before.’
      • ‘Arriving a good five minutes before the film was due to start, the place was deserted apart from four guys at the door.’
    2. 1.2(of a quality or ability) fail (someone), especially at a crucial moment when most needed.
      ‘her luck deserted her’
      • ‘However, in recent weeks his judgment has deserted him too.’
      • ‘That these qualities could desert him so spectacularly at the club's training ground in the face of one legitimate question is revealing, if not even alarming.’
      • ‘Indeed his weapon, an ability to swing the ball, seemed to have deserted him.’
      • ‘Lady Luck, however, deserted him on the night but he was magnanimous and dignified in defeat.’
      • ‘When the wind hit her as she rounded the top bend, her form and speed deserted her.’
      • ‘A similar form of words may have entered Eriksson's mind as the luck of the draw deserted his team.’
      • ‘She was shivering, visibly, as though her ability to withstand the elements had suddenly deserted her.’
      • ‘I do take risks though, so I hope my luck doesn't desert me in the future.’
      • ‘His ability to feel had deserted him and it left him empty.’
      • ‘However, even though he managed to keep the 35-year-old out for a third time four minutes before the break, his luck was finally to desert him.’
      • ‘By 1980, her ability to overpower the political pressures on the judges had deserted her.’
      • ‘His first kick from defence missed touch by several yards and his normally unerring passing skills seemed to have deserted him.’
      • ‘Your lucky number has deserted you and eaten your dignity.’
      • ‘But last year, his form of a year earlier completely deserted him and he was substituted in a number of games.’
      • ‘My Excel skills have deserted me - I was unable to make a graph that successfully showed the readings and the variance between them.’
      • ‘In one of the tightest contests in living memory, Lady Luck deserted him at the end.’
      • ‘My school French has deserted me in the hour of need.’
      • ‘However, skill wins out in the long run because luck will desert you one day.’
      • ‘Don't count on this to be the case because Lady Luck will desert you in a flash.’
      • ‘This time though, lady luck and self belief have both deserted him.’
    3. 1.3Military
      [no object](of a soldier) illegally run away from military service.
      • ‘Soon disillusioned by the lot of the common soldier, he deserted and returned home; his youth saving him from military punishment.’
      • ‘Within days the enemy force had either been destroyed, surrendered or deserted.’
      • ‘Now if he returns to the U.S. he faces several years in prison - or possibly the death penalty - for deserting during wartime.’
      • ‘After that, the troops began to desert en masse.’
      • ‘Repeated attempts were made to establish personal contacts with servicemen in order to induce them to desert and surrender.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French deserter, from late Latin desertare, from Latin desertus left waste (see desert).

Main definitions of desert in English

: desert1desert2

desert2

noun

  • 1A dry, barren area of land, especially one covered with sand, that is characteristically desolate, waterless, and without vegetation.

    • ‘The helicopter slowly landed in the soft sand of a desert in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.’
    • ‘The boy ran across the desert, the sand flying up from his heels.’
    • ‘His explorations, surveys and reports, which stated that the north had some excellent pastoral lands and were not just arid sands and saline deserts, attracted pastoralists to the area.’
    • ‘The land was mostly flat and featureless; even the most desolate of the southern deserts had some rolling sand dunes and some cacti.’
    • ‘The black stone-wall stood out like a piece of coal in the snow, for it had been placed on a barren landscape, most of which had been covered with sand from the nearby desert.’
    • ‘Either it had been moved by someone, or something as was more likely, or it had been covered by the shifting sands of the desert.’
    • ‘The sands of the desert gave way to a grass-land, though the grass had a rotten look to it, and was slippery to walk on.’
    • ‘The film starts by introducing ways to find a plot of land in the desert using satellite images, topographical maps and a compass.’
    • ‘It was a desolate barren land covered in deserts, forgotten and ignored by many.’
    • ‘The world sees the desert as a desolate land offering only hardship and discomfort.’
    • ‘Subtropical deserts and tropical savannahs and rainforests have similarly expanded and contracted, imposing their morphogenetic overprint on older landscapes.’
    • ‘The 37 areas that qualified for wilderness status include tropical rain forests, wetlands, deserts, and arctic tundra.’
    • ‘The city had almost become overrun by the desert, the sand sweeping in to cover the streets and all items left out.’
    • ‘They occupy a wide range of environment from the edges of the desert to savannah lands (favoured by N. meleagris) and high forests.’
    • ‘They had left the forested area and were back into the sand of the desert.’
    • ‘Most of this area is desert or desertified sand suitable only for grazing.’
    • ‘He'd taken to spending long periods of time in the parkland, or out in the desert beyond the planted area, doing what, Annie didn't know.’
    • ‘I wanted to ride out into the desert on camelback, sand and dunes in every direction, eat whole roasted lamb with my fingers.’
    • ‘He survived the crash by landing in ‘the biggest sand dune in the desert.’’
    • ‘Riding off trail or driving off designated areas permanently damages the land in the western desert.’
    wasteland, waste, wilderness, wilds, dust bowl, barren land
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A situation or area considered dull and uninteresting.
      ‘a cultural desert’
      • ‘People like that can only become popular in the cultural desert of the country.’
      • ‘In that cultural desert, the President on screen appears a dignified and generous oasis of calm and benevolence.’
      • ‘There's a thriving energy and excitement about, and the whole perception of the town as a cultural desert is so wrong.’
      • ‘This is not to say that it was a cultural desert: rather it was a repository of tradition that was constantly drawn on in terms of books and in terms of the iconography of its monuments.’
      • ‘Image and virtual reality are everything these days, explaining why the city, burdened with an inferiority complex, forever sees itself as a cultural desert.’
      • ‘Often derided as a cultural desert, it is listed as boasting plenty for arts lovers to experience.’
      • ‘The town was recently branded a cultural desert in a recent State of the Nation report.’
      • ‘The arts have not developed as quickly as the economy, and Hong Kong is often considered a cultural desert.’
      • ‘What you don't realise is that the country's a cultural desert.’
      • ‘And they have been used as evidence to back the often-repeated slur that the town is a cultural desert.’
      • ‘The Istanbul of the 1970s was considered to be something of a cultural desert - certainly in terms of classical music.’
      • ‘Oh, but doesn't village life automatically consign you to a cultural desert?’
      • ‘We remain determined to guide the two of them through the cultural desert that is modern childhood but since they grew out of Postman Pat all the entertainment aimed at them seems so empty of real value.’
      • ‘Within three years, they hope the area will have at least two major arts projects and a host of neighbourhood events which will ensure that huge swathes of planned new homes do not become a cultural desert.’
      • ‘The cultural desert has found an oasis from which to market its future.’

adjective

  • 1[attributive] Like a desert.

    ‘overgrazing has created desert conditions’
    • ‘The harsh weather conditions and the desert environment played havoc with our weapon systems as well as our personnel.’
    • ‘Other sites of religious importance are located on the edges of the desert plain.’
    • ‘It has coped well with desert conditions, it has withstood attack from weapons which were designed to defeat it and its gun control equipment has proved to be outstanding.’
    • ‘When I feel stressed, I want to lie down in warm desert sand.’
    • ‘Soil in countries in southern Europe has seriously depleted carbon levels, approaching desert conditions and could provide compost markets.’
    • ‘He said that despite hostile desert conditions, morale among the servicemen was high.’
    • ‘According to field reports, there was ‘complete satisfaction’ with it, even in the harsh desert conditions.’
    • ‘For millennia, people have successfully converted desert landscapes into agricultural land through irrigation.’
    • ‘Armaments were often inferior and needing attention to make them serviceable in desert conditions.’
    • ‘The tree grows very slowly and thrives in desert conditions.’
    • ‘The goal was to find a plant that could grow in dry desert conditions with little care, yet still absorb a significant amount of uranium.’
    • ‘The two buildings' formal similarities derive from their similar functions and desert landscapes.’
    • ‘This drastically minimized the harsh desert conditions and the reliability of the equipment increased.’
    • ‘In a related story, also in the Telegraph, it seems that the army is to modify 234 tanks - the equivalent of two armoured brigades - for use in desert conditions.’
    • ‘Tanks were also being prepared for desert conditions, with their filters and fans to be changed so they could cope with sand.’
    • ‘Sarah looked ahead and saw two men charging at her through the desert sand.’
    • ‘He believes that the model, which was designed in the 1960s, will perform better than a Landrover in desert conditions.’
    • ‘I looked at the scorching desert sand as the silvery moon was cooling it.’
    • ‘Suddenly I realised we were the only two Europeans in the whole desert landscape.’
    • ‘The American-designed tanker has the capacity to hold up to 20,000 litres of fuel, and can operate in both arctic and desert conditions.’
    arid, dry, moistureless, dried up, parched, scorched, burnt, hot, burning, torrid
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Uninhabited and desolate.
      ‘desert wastes’
      • ‘I think on a desert island the river journey would be even more evocative.’
      • ‘It might add interest to what has become a long chase across desert wastes.’
      • ‘His standard operating procedure is to pick up lost and lonely women from the desert highways of the southwest.’
      • ‘The daughter did the best she could, trudging womanfully along until she came to a bleak desert land.’
      • ‘As they sat on gray folding chairs in the desert wasteland, the war seemed to be in dismal shape.’
      • ‘Whereas the striped mouse is solitary in grasslands, it forms social groups in desert habitats.’
      • ‘The desolate pine forests, craggy gullies and rugged desert country are all perfectly suited to this style of movie.’
      • ‘Though if you wanted to elope to a desert island, I'd understand.’
      • ‘How many nights had he watched over me and kept me warm along some trout stream or in a lonely desert camp?’
      • ‘She escaped the fatal ambush on a lonely desert stretch of the 3000 km-long Stuart Highway, which runs between Adelaide and Darwin.’
      • ‘I was in heaven taking each long, solitary, rocky desert ride on a test bike, once I had climbed past the hordes of people on the lower slopes of the mountain.’
      • ‘They will not be used much for riding, as their blowholes will prove too tempting a prospect for lonely cowboys in the vast desert biomes of the future.’
      • ‘As the Carter family drive across the desert wastes of America, a feral family of savage cannibals attacks them.’
      • ‘Her mouth and throat were as dry as the desert wastes.’
      • ‘Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.’
      • ‘While having it fixed, she saw a small, empty, desolate theater, which was attached to an abandoned desert inn.’
      • ‘The longer we stay, the harder it will be to leave because of the resources wasted on this sad desert land.’

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from late Latin desertum something left waste neuter past participle of deserere leave, forsake.