Desert or dessert – which form is correct?

Have you seen the words desert and dessert? You might have wondered whether one of them is a spelling mistake or a new word that you don’t know. Or perhaps they are both correct and can replace one another? Read this article to find out which form is correct: desert or dessert?

Desert or dessert? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Desert or dessert? – which one is correct?

It turns out that both desert and dessert are correct! However, there is a huge difference between them and it is more than just one “s”. Carry on reading for more information.

Desert or dessert? – what is the difference?

Desert and dessert differ in meaning and pronunciation, they can also be used as different parts of speech. Desert and dessert are both nouns, but desert can also be a verb and when used in this sense, it is pronounced the same as dessert. This sounds totally confusing, but the below sections will explain it all to you.

Desert – the meaning

Desert pronounced /ˈdez.ət/ is a noun and refers to a large area of land, often covered with sand or rocks, where there is very little water or rain and very few plants.

Desert can also be a verb meaning to leave somebody without help or support, abandon. This is where things become tricky as when desert is used in this sense, it is pronounced the same as dessert, so /dɪˈzɜːt/.

Dessert – the meaning

Dessert is a sweet food eaten at the end of a meal. It is pronounced /dɪˈzɜːt/ and unlike desert, it has only one meaning and is never used as a verb.

To get familiar with desert and dessert and the difference between them, take a look at the following examples of how to use these words in sentences.

Desert or dessert? Examples from the literature and press

Dad told us we were having something special for dessert – a flaming ice-cream cake.

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

This dessert fulfills all the dreamy expectations its name conjures, and then some.

“Washington Post”, Oct 27, 2022

Do not you desert me in the hour of trial!’

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

The temperature plummeted as the desert fell dark.

Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

“If the olive grove disappears, that area will become a desert.”

“New York Times”, Sep 10, 2022

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.