Dessert vs Desert

So dessert vs desert, what’s the difference and how do I remember the different spellings?


1. Dessert is a sweet dish usually eaten at the end of a meal. It’s pronounced dih-ZURT with the last syllable stressed.


1. Desert used as a noun most often means a dry, barren place without water and filled with sand. It’s pronounced DEZ-ert with the first syllable stressed.

2. Desert used as an adjective it describes something as similar to a desert. It’s pronounced DEZ-ert with the first syllable stressed.

3. Desert used as a verb is the act of abandoning someone or a group of people when they need you. It’s pronounced dih-ZURT with the last syllable stressed.

It’s easy to confuse “dessert” and “desert” because the noun form of dessert and the verb form of desert are pronounced the same. Plus, dessert and desert are very close in spelling.

Dessert vs Desert Spelling Tips

There are a couple of ways to remember which one is spelled with “ss” and which is spelled with “s”. You can pick whichever one makes the most sense to you.

  1. Strawberry shortcake has two s’s just like dessert.
  2. You’d rather have more dessert than more desert, so there are more s’s in dessert.
  3. Desserts are super sweet or so sweet.
  4. The Sahara has only one “s” just like desert.
  5. What do you eat when you are stressed? Desserts. What is “desserts” spelled backward? Stressed.

Dessert vs Desert Definitions and Example Sentences

Sometimes it’s good to see the words in action, so here is dessert vs dessert definitions and some example sentences.


Dessert vs desert - Dessert

1. A sweet dish usually eaten after a meal.

“What do you want for dessert? I can’t decide between the key lime pie and the cheese cake.”

“The most delicious desserts are the ones prepared by someone you love.”

“Absolutely eat dessert first. The thing that you want to do the most, do that.”Joss Whedon


Desert vs desert - Desert


1. A place without much rainfall or vegetation often covered in sand.

“He tried to cross the dessert but he ran out of water and tragically died halfway through his journey.”

2. A barren, empty place.

“Antarctica is a snowy desert with white stretching as far as the eye can see.”

3. A place lacking something.

“Even though the block was a food desert it’s lively art scene made sure it wasn’t a cultural desert.”


1. Relating to or similar to a desert

“Some people find desert landscapes to be calming and peaceful.”

2. At home in the desert

“The desert nomads are camped at a nearby oasis.”


1. To leave a place or person despite being needed or having made a commitment to stay.

“True friends will never desert you in your time of need.”

“Lots of soldiers deserted after the battle was lost.”

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and desert you.” – Rick Astley

Dessert vs Desert Etymology

So where did these words come from? You would think because they are so similar their origins would be connected in some way. But surprisingly these two words, so similarly spelled, originate from totally different words.

Dessert etymology

Comes from the French word desservir which means to clear the table (des – remove / servire – to serve). Probably because you clear the table after the meal to serve dessert. It originated in the 16th century.

Desert etymology

All the forms of “desert” come from the Latin desero, which means to abandon. The Latin verb was desertus, and the Latin noun was desertum, and they both came from the original desero.

You can see how the verb didn’t change much. It still means “to abandon”. And the noun form of desert is basically an abandoned place which isn’t much of a stretch.

Interesting fact: The phrase “just deserts” meaning a punishment or reward that is deserved, doesn’t come from the “desert” or “dessert” that we just talked about. The “desert” in “just deserts” is a noun form of “deserve”.

Final thoughts on Dessert vs Desert

Hopefully, that clears up any questions you have for dessert vs desert. Remember there are some tricks to remember the spelling at the top of the article. Now you’ll never have to worry about which is which!


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Principle vs Principal – Maybe you just can’t get enough of language? This page will help you remember the differences between principle and principal.

Compliment vs Complement – Here’s another versus article for words, we’ll help you with the differences between the two!