Desert or Dessert?

The words desert and dessert look similar, but they are very different in meaning.


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


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.)

Remembering Dessert

Here is an excellent way of remembering the difference between dessert and desert:

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

(Yeah, I know. It's brilliant, isn't it?)

A Quick Test

Dessert Is Twice As Good

Here are some ways to remember desert and dessert:
  • Dessert is twice as good as desert.
  • Desert = Sahara
  • Dessert = Strawberry shortcake.