Definition of “desert” - English Dictionary

“desert” in English

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desertnoun [ C or U ]

uk /ˈdez.ət/ us /ˈdez.ɚt/

A2 an area, often covered with sand or rocks, where there is very little rain and not many plants:

They were lost in the desert for nine days.
We had to cross a large area of arid, featureless desert.
the desert sun
cultural, intellectual, etc. desert disapproving

a place that is considered to have no cultural, intellectual, etc. quality or interest:

This town is a cultural desert.

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uk /dɪˈzɜːt/ us /dɪˈzɝːt/

desert verb (RUN AWAY)

[ I or T ] to leave the armed forces without permission and with no intention of returning:

Soldiers who deserted and were caught were shot.
How many people desert from the army each year?

desert verb (LEAVE BEHIND)

[ T ] to leave someone without help or in a difficult situation and not come back:

He deserted his wife and family for another woman.

[ T ] If a quality deserts you, you suddenly and temporarily lose it:

All my confidence/courage deserted me when I walked into the exam.

(Definition of “desert” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“desert” in American English

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desertverb [ T ]

us /dɪˈzɜrt/

to leave someone or something without help or in a difficult situation:

Local people deserted the city as hordes of tourists arrived.

If you desert the armed forces, you leave without permission and with no intention of returning:

He denied that he had deserted his post.

desertnoun [ C/U ]

us /ˈdez·ərt/

a large, dry area where there is very little rain and few plants:

[ U ] When you live in the desert, water is your most vital resource.

(Definition of “desert” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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An acute lack of humanitarian food aid and inadequate funding are threatening the old, isolated camps, which find it hard to withstand the savage desert climate.
Other countries in the region must also be involved in this programme, since we will otherwise be faced with an ever-increasing number of related problems as the desert spreads south.
Now we learn that they are dying at the fences which separate poverty from prosperity, or that they are left in the desert without food and water.
If they were only wallowing in desert sand and dust, we would not be here discussing a conflict that is threatening to turn into a massive regional tragedy.
The situation in the north is different from that in the south, and different from the situation in those countries which have the problem of desert areas.
Furthermore, it is not a fair directive because it ignores the large uninhabited areas, climatic diversity, desert areas and arid areas.
The big problem is that the desert is expanding and tropical forests are in bad shape, threatened by greed and crime.
The desert is spreading.
Civil conflict, guerrilla warfare, military coups, religious and ethnic divisions, combined with a hostile, semi-desert environment and a problematic regional neighbourhood, have led to almost continuous unrest in the country.
As a result of this disaster, much of the land will go uncultivated and will be liable to end up as mere desert.