deserter (n.)
1630s, agent noun from desert (v.).
desertification (n.)
1973, from desert (n.1) + -fication. In French, désertisation is attested from 1968.
desertion (n.)
1590s, from Middle French désertion (early 15c.), from Late Latin desertionem (nominative desertio) "a forsaking, abandoning," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin deserere (see desert (v.)).
deserve (v.)
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.)
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.)
1670s, past participle adjective from desiccate.
desiccation (n.)
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.)
plural of desideratum (1650s), from Latin, literally "something for which desire is felt," from past participle stem of desiderare "to long for" (see desire).
desideratum (n.)
"something lacking," see desiderata.
design (v.)
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.)
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.)
1640s, from Latin designatus, past participle of designare (see design (v.)).
designate (v.)
As a verb, from 1791, from designate (adj.) or else a back-formation from designation. Related: Designated; designating.
designated (adj.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
"scheming," 1670s, present participle adjective from design (v.).
desirable (adj.)
late 14c., from Old French desirable (12c.), from dasirer (see desire (v.)). Related: Desirably; desirability.
desire (v.)
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.)
c.1300, from Old French desir, from desirer (see desire (v.)); sense of "lust" is first recorded mid-14c.
desirous (adj.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
1929, from desk + top. 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-
before vowels desm-, word-forming element used in scientific compounds, from Greek desmos "bond, fastening, chain," from PIE root *de- "to bind."
desolate (adj.)
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.)
late 14c., from desolate (adj.). Related: Desolated; desolating.
desolation (n.)
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 (n.)
c.1300, from Anglo-French despeir, Old French despoir, from desperer (see despair (v.)). Replaced native wanhope.
despair (v.)
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.
despatch
18c. variant of dispatch (q.v.), apparently the result of an error in the printing of Johnson's dictionary.
desperado (n.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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
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.)
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.)
1650s, from Late Latin despoliationem (nominative despoliatio), noun of action from Latin despoliatus, past participle of despoliare (see despoil).
despondence (n.)
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.)
1650s; see despondence + -cy.
despondent (adj.)
1690s, from Latin despondentem (nominative despondens), present participle of despondere (see despondence). Related: Despondently (1670s).
despot (n.)
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.)
1640s, from French despotique (14c.), from Greek despotikos, from despotes (see despot). Related: Despotical; despotically.
despotism (n.)
mid-18c., from French despotisme; see despot + -ism.
All education is despotism. [William Godwin, "Enquirer," 1797]
dessert (n.)
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.)
1934 in a physical sense; earlier (1924) with reference to political systems, governments, nations, etc.; see de- + stabilize. Related: Destabilized; destabilizing.
destin (v.)
obsolete form of destine (q.v.).
destination (n.)
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.)
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.