Desert, Deserter, and Dessert

They deserted the dessert tray while dining in the desert known as  San Diego.

The hostess was not amused  because she had gone to a lot of trouble and expense to have things that were both attractive and low-calorie.


Desert (verb)-someone who abandons a person, location, or organization in a  manner considered disloyal or treacherous

Desert (noun)-region with 9.75 inches of annual precipitation so that it has sparse or widespread vegetation.

Dessert (noun)–sweet course served at the end of the meal.

The military frowns on deserters..  AllDay has a list of the ten most famous deserters including Bowe Bergdahl, Mark Twain, George Custer, and Steve McQueen.  The penalties can be quite severe.

Attendees at the Military Libraries Workshop in Richmond a few years ago also frowned on the deserters who parked themselves at the desert table and started chowing down before most of the hungry had had a chance to get through the buffet line.  Those  particular deserters refused to abandon their post despite poisonous stares from the other conference goers.

When most people think about a desert, they think about heat.  But it is precipitation, not temperature, that defines a desert.  Technically, Antartica is a desert.  So is most of southern California, though the meteorologists speak of  the coast, the inland valleys, the mountains, and the desert as four different climate zones.


Dessert is a lovely thought at the end of the meal.  It can be sweets, a cheese plate, fruit, coffee or tea, and even an after dinner drink.  Does an after dinner cigar qualify as dessert?


Are you a desserter or a deserter?   Join in the conversation and share you favorite desert or dessert. Are you a sweet type of desert eater or do you prefer fruit and/or cheese?


2 thoughts on “Desert, Deserter, and Dessert”

  1. Large portions of the U.S. west of the Mississippi were once marked on maps as the Great American Desert, meaning simply that it was unknown and unexplored. It was only much later that the term was restricted to the dry region south and west of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, thus referring to the desert in its climatic sense. My Century Dictionary (1889) observes that “In a great majority of the places where ‘desert’ appears in the authorized version of the Bible, the revised version changes it to ‘wilderness’.” This definition of “desert” is understood in the term “desert island”. Prospero, Robinson Crusoe, and Tom Hanks were not stranded on dry islands of windblown sand but on lush, tropical islands that were uninhabited. Those islands were not “deserted”, in the sense of having once been inhabited in the past, but truly unknown, feral, isolated, off the map. To be on a desert island is to be cut off from humanity.


  2. Another excellent, thought-provoking comment. I did not even think about the desert island aspect. Thanks for expanding the discussion with informatoin about different aspects of desert. Your dictionary is an absolute treasure of things from the past.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s