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  1. #1
    greegorush is offline Member
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    desert and deserted

    Hello!

    Could I use these words synonymously?

    A desert island = A deserted island
    A desert wood = A deserted wood

    Is there any case where I have to use only deserted or desert (as an adjective)?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by greegorush View Post
    Hello!

    Could I use these words synonymously?

    A desert island = A deserted island
    A desert wood = A deserted wood

    Is there any case where I have to use only deserted or desert (as an adjective)?

    Thank you in advance!
    A "desert" is a barren or almost barren landscape, so "a desert wood" is not possible. A desert island is an island with little or no vegetation, whereas, a deserted island is an unpopulated island which may or may not be a desert island.

  3. #3
    IHIVG's Avatar
    IHIVG is offline Member
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    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    A "desert" is a barren or almost barren landscape, so "a desert wood" is not possible. A desert island is an island with little or no vegetation, whereas, a deserted island is an unpopulated island which may or may not be a desert island.
    Interesting. I always thought that 'desert' and 'deserted' can be used interchangeably to mean 'uninhabited'/forsaken:

    (From the dictionaries)
    des·ert

    • An empty or forsaken place; a wasteland


    • Desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied <a desert island>

    desert - definition of desert by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    Desert - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    So we can use both desert and deserted when talking about places to mean 'unpopulated'. We can also use 'deserted' with people: deserted child/wife (abandoned, lonely);
    We can't say, 'desert child'.

    Do you think the definitions above are wrong?

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    Interesting. I always thought that 'desert' and 'deserted' can be used interchangeably to mean 'uninhabited'/forsaken:

    (From the dictionaries)
    des·ert

    • An empty or forsaken place; a wasteland


    • Desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied <a desert island>

    desert - definition of desert by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    Desert - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    So we can use both desert and deserted when talking about places to mean 'unpopulated'. We can also use 'deserted' with people: deserted child/wife (abandoned, lonely);
    We can't say, 'desert child'.

    Do you think the definitions above are wrong?
    No, the definitions are not wrong and they don't disagree with what I said before. A desert island, is not necessarily the same as a deserted island.

  5. #5
    IHIVG's Avatar
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    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    No, the definitions are not wrong and they don't disagree with what I said before. A desert island, is not necessarily the same as a deserted island.
    But they can be the same, right?
    Also, you seem to be disagreeing since you said that 'desert wood' is not possible.

  6. #6
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: desert and deserted

    'desert island' means a remote tropical island that is typically uninhabited;
    'deserted island' means an island which was inhabited but is no more.

    So the meanings differ. 'Desert island' is idiomatic. 'Desert' is not used adjectivally in this sense in any other expression; instead, it means 'like a desert'. So 'desert wood' is not possible.

  7. #7
    IHIVG's Avatar
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    Re: desert and deserted

    Strangely though, I've checked all the dictionaries I could possibly find and all of them say that 'desert' and 'deserted' can have the same meaning.
    Go figure.

  8. #8
    euncu's Avatar
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    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    Strangely though, I've checked all the dictionaries I could possibly find and all of them say that 'desert' and 'deserted' can have the same meaning.
    Go figure.
    Maybe you should desert this desert stuff before you get more confused.

  9. #9
    IHIVG's Avatar
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    Re: desert and deserted

    euncu's talking Turkish, er... turkey.

  10. #10
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    Re: desert and deserted

    "Desert" is a noun. Its adjectival use is pretty much constrained to meaning desert-like, as in 6. below.
    "Deserted" is only an adjective (or past participle).
    So it's hard to see how most dictionaries can equate these two.


    Desert | Define Desert at Dictionary.com
    des·ert

    1    /ˈdɛzərt/ Show Spelled[dez-ert] Show IPA
    - noun
    ...

    –adjective 6. of, pertaining to, or like a desert; desolate; barren.

    7. occurring, living, or flourishing in the desert: a desert tribe; a desert palm.

    8. designed or suitable for wear in the desert, as cool, protective clothing: a big, wide-brimmed desert hat.



    de·sert·ed

     /dɪˈzɜrtɪd/ Show Spelled[dih-zur-tid] Show IPA
    –adjective 1. abandoned; forsaken: the problems of deserted wives and children.

    2. untenanted: without inhabitants: a deserted village; a deserted farmhouse.

    3. unfrequented; lonely: The victim was lured to a deserted spot.

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