What’s the difference between desert and dessert?

This week we are looking at two words which are commonly confused because of their similar spellings: desert and dessert.


image showing sandy desert

Desert can be both a noun and a verb.

As a noun:

A desert is a large area of land where there is very little water or rain, no trees, and very few plants.

They crossed the Sahara Desert.

As a verb:

When people or animals desert a place, they all leave it.

Some farmers are deserting their fields and coming here looking for jobs.

If you desert someone, you leave them and no longer help or support them.

All our friends have deserted us.


lots of desserts

Dessert is sweet food served at the end of a meal.

For dessert there was ice cream.

Find out more in our English Usage article.

This blogpost is based on Collins COBUILD English Usage, written for learners of English. For more examples of English usage points, please visit:  https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/english-usage.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.

Other Articles

What’s the difference between shadow and shade?

This week we are looking at two words which are commonly confused: shadow and shade. shadow A shadow is a dark shape made on a surface when something stands between a light and the surface. The tree cast a shadow over the garden. If a place… Read More

What’s the difference between a library and bookshop?

This week we are looking at different buildings associated with books: library and bookshop or bookstore. library A library is a building where books are kept that people can look at or borrow. You can borrow the book from your… Read More

What’s the difference between cup, mug and glass?

This week we are looking at the different containers that you can drink out of: cup, mug and glass cup A cup is a small, round container, usually with a handle, from which you drink hot drinks such as tea… Read More