Desert vs. Dessert

Posted: February 4th, 2014, 12:54 pm   By: brittany.corners

“I love you like a fat kid love cake”—50 Cent, melting hearts with a dessert-related simile

In the English language, one letter often makes all the semantic difference. Consider the line between “duck” and…hmm, too risqué. What about “sit” and…no, not appropriate either. Maybe we better just stop there. You get the idea: just changing one letter can drastically swing the meaning of words. Desert and dessert are no exception.


Dessert is the sweet course typically eaten at the end of a meal. Some creeps eat it before the main course, but that’s why we should ostracize them.

  • If you’re trying to get a show on TLC, you should eat at least one dessert after every meal.
  • Kesha enjoys toilet paper for dessert. Yep, that clip is for real.
  • Ignore the opinions of old people and weirdos: oatmeal raisin cookies are not dessert.


Take away an “s” from dessert, and you get desert—and things change quite a bit. Desert has several meanings:

  1. Noun: a dry and barren region of land, often covered with sand, that is typically arid, desolate and without much vegetation
  2. Ex) Because of our country’s dilapidated education system, most Americans probably can’t find the Sahara Desert on a map.

  3. Noun: an area or situation regarded as dull and uninteresting
  4. Ex) Despite its slogan, “Very Funny,” cable channel TBS is actually a desert of comedy.

  5. Adjective: to be like a desert
  6. Ex) Adam Carolla’s uproarious pitch for a movie called Pedoph Isle centers on the premise of all the chesters in America being banished together on a desert island.

  7. Verb: to abandon in a disloyal way, or to fail at a critical moment

Ex) This TIME magazine cover is proof that the Great Deity has indeed deserted us.

Well, I’ve hit my word count. Time for dessert.