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  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #21

    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    Anyway, my intention was, as you said, no other than to make a joke.
    It seems that joking is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Anyways, let's put that behind us so that the other posters can consantrate on your fellow citizen's original post.

  2. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #22

    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You posted one. M-W doesn't give 'desert' as an adjective.
    I'm not surprised that you found one dictionary where the one term was given as a definition of another. What surprises me is that you could find none that indicate a difference. I was hoping to understand that. But it's of no great importance.
    First off, I do understand that there's a difference and that the two words don't necessarily mean the same (i.e. desert - 'desert-like', bare of vegetation; deserted - 'desolate, uninhabited'). But the dictionaries give another definition for 'desert', which made me think that there's an overlap.

    From M-W dictionary:
    Main Entry: 2des·ert
    Pronunciation: \ˈde-zərt\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 13th century
    1 : desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied <a desert island>

    Is this not an adjective?

    I take your word for it that 'desert wood' is not possible.
    But I don't understand your explanation that the defintion above is somehow different from that of simply 'desolate'.

    Could you please enlighten me?

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #23

    Re: desert and deserted

    Well, I checked the internet and found that the Sahara Desert has a population of circa two millions. So it's a desert area but not a deserted area.

  4. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #24

    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    It seems that joking is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Anyways, let's put that behind us so that the other posters can consantrate on your fellow citizen's original post.
    You seem to have taken it the wrong way.

    I didn't think that my innocent comment would be taken so seriously.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #25

    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    First off, I do understand that there's a difference and that the two words don't necessarily mean the same (i.e. desert - 'desert-like', bare of vegetation; deserted - 'desolate, uninhabited'). But the dictionaries give another definition for 'desert', which made me think that there's an overlap.

    From M-W dictionary:
    Main Entry: 2des·ert
    Pronunciation: \ˈde-zərt\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 13th century
    1 : desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied <a desert island>

    Is this not an adjective?
    Yes, it is. The index word 'desert' is defined as being an adjective; 'desolate', 'occupied' and 'unoccupied' are adjectives, and 'sparsely' is an adverb.

    I take your word for it that 'desert wood' is not possible.
    Do you understand why?

    But I don't understand your explanation that the defintion above is somehow different from that of simply 'desolate'.
    Well, on the face of it, "desolate" and "desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied" are different, unless you claim that "sparsely occupied or unoccupied" is strictly synonymous with 'desolate'. But if this were the case, why has the dictionary committed this redundancy?
    In general, I think you'd accept that A + B does not equal A, unless B is zero, or of no consequence in the context.
    All I'm saying is that
    "desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied" obviously had different connotations to the lexicographer than "desolate" by itself did. I don't know what difference the lexicographer had in mind, but perhaps s/he was attempting to clarify that other meanings of 'desolate' don't mean 'desert'(adj). For example, a women who has lost a child can be desolate. But, since she is not "sparsely occupied or unoccupied", she cannot be described as being "a desert woman".

    Could you please enlighten me?
    I can do my best.
    I thought your argument was that "desert" and "deserted" as adjectives were synonymous. Are you accepting now that they are not, and moving on to the difference between "desert" and "desolate" as adjectives?

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    #26

    Re: desert and deserted

    I've been thinking about it and there is one point I believe more or less important that hasn't been raised so far.
    Let's take the word desert as a noun. What does it mean? I think it depends. In our times, it's generally a place with extremely low humidity. But I believe I heard this word used in another meaning (which I guess is archaic now - or at least rarely used), i.e. for an unpopulated area, a wilderness. That would lead to desert = desert-like = unpopulated. Now I mean only the semantics, not the etymology.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #27

    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I've been thinking about it and there is one point I believe more or less important that hasn't been raised so far.
    Let's take the word desert as a noun. What does it mean? I think it depends. In our times, it's generally a place with extremely low humidity. But I believe I heard this word used in another meaning (which I guess is archaic now - or at least rarely used), i.e. for an unpopulated area, a wilderness. That would lead to desert = desert-like = unpopulated. Now I mean only the semantics, not the etymology.
    In English, 'desert' is generally not used this way, at least literally. For example, Antarctica is almost unpopulated, but it's not described as a desert. Large areas of unpopulated jungle in South America and South-East Asia are also not deserts.
    However, 'desert' can be use metaphorically.
    "The last beer shipment into town didn't make it. It's turned into a desert here!" (It's dry.)
    "I've checked that nightclub before. It's usually a desert on Tuesdays." (There are no men/women/people there on Tuesdays.)

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    #28

    Re: desert and deserted

    I think you're wrong now, in two of your three points. First, Antarctica is most surely a desert and not because of being a wilderness, but because it hardly snows there. It isn't a hot desert though. But that's still the humidity-related meaning of the word. And I think you're also wrong about that other meaning when you say there's no such thing. The "etymology" section in the Wikipedia article about deserts says that clearly I think. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert

    PS: Surely, Antarctica is a desert when we speak about controlled language. I don't know about the natural language though.

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    #29

    Re: desert and deserted

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    , it's generally a place with extremely low humidity.
    A desert is simply a place with extremely low rainfall (and so, I imagine, negligible humidity). When we say 'desert', we are usually referring to a hot desert, although the two biggest deserts are in fact the cold deserts of Antarctica and the Arctic.

    [PS, birdeen's call: I didn't see your last post when I posted this]

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    #30

    Re: desert and deserted

    Maybe I'll paste the excerpt so that everybody can see it:
    In English prior to the 20th century, desert was often used in the sense of "unpopulated area", without specific reference to aridity; but today the word is most often used in its climate-science sense (an area of low precipitation)—and a desert may be quite heavily populated, with millions of inhabitants. Phrases such as "desert island" and "Great American Desert" in previous centuries did not necessarily imply sand or aridity; their focus was the sparse population.
    I'm not sure if I can do it without violating the copyright. If I can't please tell me, I will remove it.

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