Desert vs desert

Desert and desert are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. We will examine the definitions of the words desert and desert, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

Desert (duh ZERT) means to abandon, to be disloyal, to leave in the lurch. The verb desert is often applied to people who leave the military without permission. Related words are deserts, deserted, deserting, deserter. The verb desert is derived from the Latin word desertare, which means to abandon or forsake.

Desert (DEH zert) means an arid land area that receives little rainfall. A desert is usually composed primarily of sand or rock and contains little plant or animal life. The word desert is often used figuratively to mean something that is barren, harsh or lifeless. Desert is derived from the Latin word desertum, which means a thing that is abandoned.


One answer is desalination, but that needs a source of brine from which to remove the salt—which in turn requires that your desert be near the sea. (The Economist)

The Six Senses Shaharut, located in the stark Negev Desert in southern Israel, was described as “the perfect destination for the intrepid luxury traveler.” (The Times of Israel)

Attention, all troops peeved with your platoon sergeant, bored with your field rations, or who just want a little private time: It’s okay to desert your post in a combat zone. (The New York Post)

“Have we come to the point where a governor can desert his wife and children, and persuade a young woman to abandon her four children and husband?” thundered the former senator Prescott Bush (founder of a political dynasty of which Nelson Rockefeller could only dream). (The Independent)