deserve (v.) Look up deserve at
early 13c., from Old French deservir (Modern French desservir) "deserve, be worthy of, earn, merit," from Latin deservire "serve well," from de- "completely" (see de-) + servire "to serve" (see serve). From "be entitled to because of good service" (a sense found in Late Latin), meaning generalized c. 1300 to "be worthy of." Related: Deserved; deserving.
desiccate (v.) Look up desiccate at
1570s (past participle adjective desicatt is attested from early 15c.), from Latin desiccatus, past participle of desiccare "to make very dry" (see desiccation). Related: Desiccated; desiccating.
desiccated (adj.) Look up desiccated at
1670s, past participle adjective from desiccate.
desiccation (n.) Look up desiccation at
early 15c., from Middle French desiccation or directly from Late Latin desiccationem (nominative desiccatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin desiccare "to make very dry," from de- "thoroughly" (see de-) + siccare "to dry" (see siccative).
desiderata (n.) Look up desiderata at
plural of desideratum (1650s), from Latin, literally "something for which desire is felt," from past participle stem of desiderare "to long for" (see desire (v.)).
desideratum (n.) Look up desideratum at
"something lacking," see desiderata.
design (v.) Look up design at
1540s, from Latin designare "mark out, devise, choose, designate, appoint," from de- "out" (see de-) + signare "to mark," from signum "a mark, sign" (see sign (n.)). Originally in English with the meaning now attached to designate; many modern uses of design are metaphoric extensions. Related: Designed; designing.
design (n.) Look up design at
1580s, from Middle French desseign "purpose, project, design," from Italian disegno, from disegnare "to mark out," from Latin designare "to mark out" (see design (v.)).
designate (adj.) Look up designate at
1640s, from Latin designatus, past participle of designare (see design (v.)).
designate (v.) Look up designate at
As a verb, from 1791, from designate (adj.) or else a back-formation from designation. Related: Designated; designating.
designated (adj.) Look up designated at
past participle adjective from designate. Designated hitter introduced in American League baseball in 1973, soon giving wide figurative extension to designated, such as designated driver, by 1985.
designation (n.) Look up designation at
late 14c., "action of pointing out," from Old French designacion or directly from Latin designationem (nominative designatio) "a marking out, specification," noun of action from past participle stem of designare (see design (v.)). Meaning "descriptive name" is from 1824.
designer (n.) Look up designer at
1640s, "one who schemes;" agent noun from design (v.). Meaning "one who makes an artistic design or a construction plan" is from 1660s. In fashion, as an adjective, "bearing the label of a famous clothing designer" (thus presumed to be expensive or prestigious), from 1966. Designer drug attested from 1983.
designing (adj.) Look up designing at
"scheming," 1670s, present participle adjective from design (v.).
desirable (adj.) Look up desirable at
late 14c., from Old French desirable (12c.), from dasirer (see desire (v.)). Related: Desirably; desirability.
desire (v.) Look up desire at
early 13c., from Old French desirrer (12c.) "wish, desire, long for," from Latin desiderare "long for, wish for; demand, expect," original sense perhaps "await what the stars will bring," from the phrase de sidere "from the stars," from sidus (genitive sideris) "heavenly body, star, constellation" (but see consider). Related: Desired; desiring.
desire (n.) Look up desire at
c. 1300, from Old French desir, from desirer (see desire (v.)); sense of "lust" is first recorded mid-14c.
desirous (adj.) Look up desirous at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French desirous, Old French desirros (11c., Modern French désireux), from Vulgar Latin *desiderosus, from stem of Latin desiderare (see desire (v.)).
desist (v.) Look up desist at
mid-15c., from Middle French désister (mid-14c.), from Latin desistere "to stand aside, leave off, cease," from de- "off" (see de-) + sistere "stop, come to a stand" (see assist). Related: Desisted; desisting.
desk (n.) Look up desk at
mid-14c., from Medieval Latin desca "table to write on" (mid-13c.), from Latin discus "quoit, platter, dish," from Greek diskos (see disk (n.)). The Medieval Latin is perhaps via Italian desco. Used figuratively of office or clerical work since 1797; desk job is first attested 1965.
desktop (n.) Look up desktop at
1929, from desk + top (n.1). As an adjective meaning "suitable for use on a desktop," it is recorded from 1958 (in reference to computers). As a shortening of desktop computer, recorded from 1983. Desktop publishing recorded from 1984.
desmo- Look up desmo- at
before vowels desm-, word-forming element used in scientific compounds, from Greek desmos "bond, fastening, chain," from PIE root *de- "to bind."
desolate (adj.) Look up desolate at
mid-14c., "without companions," also "uninhabited," from Latin desolatus, past participle of desolare "leave alone, desert," from de- "completely" (see de-) + solare "make lonely," from solus "alone" (see sole (adj.)). Sense of "joyless" is 15c.
desolate (v.) Look up desolate at
late 14c., from desolate (adj.). Related: Desolated; desolating.
desolation (n.) Look up desolation at
late 14c., "action of laying waste," also "sorrow, grief," from Old French desolacion (12c.) "desolation, devastation, hopelessness, despair," from Church Latin desolationem (nominative desolatio), noun of action from past participle stem of desolare (see desolate (adj.)). Meaning "condition of being ruined or wasted" is from early 15c.
despair (v.) Look up despair at
early 14c., from stem of Old French desperer "be dismayed, lose hope, despair," from Latin desperare "to despair, to lose all hope," from de- "without" (see de-) + sperare "to hope," from spes "hope" (see sperate). Related: Despaired; despairing; despairingly.
despair (n.) Look up despair at
c. 1300, from Anglo-French despeir, Old French despoir, from desperer (see despair (v.)). Replaced native wanhope.
despatch Look up despatch at
18c. variant of dispatch (q.v.), apparently the result of an error in the printing of Johnson's dictionary.
desperado (n.) Look up desperado at
c. 1600, "a person in despair," mock-Spanish version of desperate (n.) "reckless criminal" (1560s), from Latin desperatus (see desperation). There was an adjective desperado in Old Spanish, meaning "out of hope, desperate," but apparently it never was used as a noun and it probably has nothing to do with the English word. Meaning "a desperate or reckless man" is recorded from 1640s.
desperate (adj.) Look up desperate at
early 15c., "despairing, hopeless," from Latin desperatus "given up, despaired of," past participle of desperare (see despair (v.)). Sense of "driven to recklessness" is from late 15c.; weakened sense of "having a great desire for" is from 1950s. Related: Desperately.
desperation (n.) Look up desperation at
mid-14c., from Middle French désperation or directly from Latin desperationem (nominative desperatio) "despair, hopelessness," noun of action from past participle stem of desperare "lose hope" (see despair (v.)).
despicable (adj.) Look up despicable at
1550s, from Late Latin despicabilis, from Latin despicari "despise, disdain, look down on," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicare, variant of specere "to look" (see scope (n.1)).
despise (v.) Look up despise at
c. 1300, from Old French despis-, present participle stem of despire "to despise," from Latin despicere "look down on, scorn," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicere/specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Related: Despised; despising.
despite Look up despite at
c. 1300, originally a noun, from Old French despit (12c., Modern French dépit), from Latin despectus "a looking down on, scorn, contempt," from past participle of despicere (see despise).

The preposition (early 15c.) is short for in despite of (late 13c.), a loan-translation of Old French en despit de "in contempt of." Almost became despight during 16c. spelling reform.
despoil (v.) Look up despoil at
c. 1300, from Old French despoillier (12c., Modern French dépouiller) "to strip, rob, deprive of, steal, borrow," from Latin despoliare "to rob, despoil, plunder," from de- "entirely" (see de-) + spoliare "to strip of clothing, rob," from spolium "armor, booty" (see spoil (v.)). Related: Despoiled; despoiling.
despoliation (n.) Look up despoliation at
1650s, from Late Latin despoliationem (nominative despoliatio), noun of action from Latin despoliatus, past participle of despoliare (see despoil).
despondence (n.) Look up despondence at
1670s, from Latin despondere "to give up, lose, lose heart, resign, to promise in marriage" (especially in phrase animam despondere, literally "give up one's soul"), from the sense of a promise to give something away, from de- "away" (see de-) + spondere "to promise" (see spondee). A condition more severe than despair.
despondency (n.) Look up despondency at
1650s; see despondence + -cy.
despondent (adj.) Look up despondent at
1690s, from Latin despondentem (nominative despondens), present participle of despondere (see despondence). Related: Despondently (1670s).
despot (n.) Look up despot at
1560s, "absolute ruler," from Old French despot (14c.), from Medieval Latin despota, from Greek despotes "master of a household, lord, absolute ruler," from PIE *dems-pota- "house-master;" for first element see domestic (adj.); second element cognate with Latin potis, potens (see potent).

Faintly pejorative in Greek, progressively more so as used in various languages for Roman emperors, Christian rulers of Ottoman provinces, and Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The female equivalent was despoina "lady, queen, mistress," source of the proper name Despina.
despotic (adj.) Look up despotic at
1640s, from French despotique (14c.), from Greek despotikos, from despotes (see despot). Related: Despotical; despotically.
despotism (n.) Look up despotism at
mid-18c., from French despotisme; see despot + -ism.
All education is despotism. [William Godwin, "Enquirer," 1797]
dessert (n.) Look up dessert at
c. 1600, from Middle French dessert (mid-16c.) "last course," literally "removal of what has been served," from desservir "clear the table," literally "un-serve," from des- "remove, undo" (see dis-) + Old French servir "to serve" (see serve (v.)).
destabilize (v.) Look up destabilize at
1934 in a physical sense; earlier (1924) with reference to political systems, governments, nations, etc.; see de- + stabilize. Related: Destabilized; destabilizing.
destin (v.) Look up destin at
obsolete form of destine (q.v.).
destination (n.) Look up destination at
1590s, "act of appointing," from Latin destinationem (nominative destinatio) "purpose, design," from past participle stem of destinare "determine, appoint, choose, make firm or fast," from de- "completely, formally" (see de-) + -stinare (related to stare "to stand") from PIE *ste-no-, from root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Modern sense (1787) is from place of destination, where one is "destined" to go.
destine (v.) Look up destine at
c. 1300, from Old French destiner (12c.), from Latin destinare "make fast or firm, establish" (see destination). Originally in English of the actions of deities, fate, etc. Of human choices or actions, from early 16c. Related: Destined.
destiny (n.) Look up destiny at
mid-14c., from Old French destinée (12c.) "purpose, intent, fate, destiny; that which is destined," noun use of fem. past participle of destiner, from Latin destinare "make firm, establish" (see destination). The sense is of "that which has been firmly established," as by fate.
destitute (adj.) Look up destitute at
late 14c., "abandoned, forsaken," from Latin destitutus "abandoned," past participle of destituere "forsake," from de- "away" + statuere "put, place," causative of stare "to stand," from PIE root *stā- "to stand" (see stet). Originally literal; sense of "lacking resources, impoverished" is 1530s.
destitution (n.) Look up destitution at
early 15c., from Old French destitution and directly from Latin destitutionem (nominative destitutio) "a forsaking, deserting," from destitutus, past participle of destituere (see destitute).