Desert or Dessert?

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Desert or Dessert?

What is the difference between "desert" and "dessert"?
  • "Desert" means "arid land" or "to abandon." For example:
    • The camels are crossing the desert.
    • Don't desert me!
  • "Dessert" is the sweet course at the end of a meal. For example:
    • I'll have apple pie and custard for dessert.
desert or dessert?

How To Pronounce "Desert" and "Dessert"

The confusion over "desert" and "dessert" is understandable because when "desert" means "to abandon," it is pronounced like "dessert." When "desert" means "arid land," it is not pronounced like "dessert."

More about "Desert" and "Dessert"

The words "desert" and "dessert" look similar, but they have very different meanings.

Click on the Two Correct Sentences
(Interactive Game)

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Desert

The word "desert" can be an adjective, noun, or verb. It has the following meanings:

Arid land with little or no vegetation.


The Sahara Desert
  • The plants and animals possess special features which allow them to cope with the desert conditions.
  • ("Desert" is an adjective in this example.)
  • An ice desert is defined as a polar area that supports little or no vegetation and that is permanently covered by snow and ice.
  • ("Desert" is a noun in this example.)
To abandon or to defect or to leave in the lurch.
  • If disturbed too often, the adult birds will desert the fledglings.
  • If you desert, you will be shot when you're caught.
  • ("Desert" is a verb in these examples.)
To leave behind.
  • As soon as the bell went, the kids deserted the building.
  • ("Desert" is a verb in this example.)

Dessert

A "dessert" is typically the final course of a meal. It is usually sweet (e.g., ice cream, cake, pudding).
  • Would you like to see the dessert menu?

An example of a dessert
Ways to Remember "Desert" and "Dessert


  • Dessert is twice as good as desert.
  • Desert = Sahara
  • Dessert = Strawberry shortcake.
"Stressed" is "Desserts" Backwards

When you're stressed, you eat cake, chocolate, and sweets because 'stressed' is 'desserts' backwards.

More about "Stressed" and "Desserts"

  • "Stressed" and "desserts" are anagrams. (They use the same letters.)
  • "Stressed desserts" is a palindrome. (It reads the same backwards as forwards.)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words