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  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #41

    Re: desert and deserted

    Here is the Oxford English DIctionary's entry for 'desert' (adj).

    1. Deserted, forsaken, abandoned. arch.
    Sometimes as pa. pple.: cf. DESERT v. 4.
    1480 CAXTON Chron. Eng. ccxxvi. 233 Wyde clothes destytut and desert from al old honeste and good vsage. 1540 R. HYRDE tr. Vive's Instr. Chr. Wom. (1592) Mvj, Noemy had beene a widow and desert in deede. 1633 P. FLETCHER Poet. Misc., Elisa II. iv, Her desert self and now cold Lord lamenting. 1774 S. WESLEY in Westm. Mag. II. 654 When..lies desert the monumented clay. 1792 S. ROGERS Pleas. Mem. I. 69 As through the gardens desert paths I rove. 1868 MORRIS Earthly Par. I. 254 In that wan place desert of hope and fear.
    2. Uninhabited, unpeopled, desolate, lonely.
    (In mod. usage this sense and 3 are freq. combined.)
    1297 R. GLOUC. 232 e decyples..Byleuede in a wyldernesse..at me clepu nou Glastynbury, at desert was o. a1340 HAMPOLE Psalter Cant. 514 He fand him in land deserte. 1494 FABYAN Chron. I. ii. 9 This Ile wt Geaunts whylom inhabyt..Nowe beynge deserte. 1577 B. GOOGE Heresbach's Husb. III. (1586) 127 They seeke the secretest and desartest places that may be. 1697 DRYDEN Virg. Georg. I. 94 When Deucalion hurl'd His Mother's Entrails on the desart World. 1711 ADDISON Spect. No. 85 2 Fallen asleep in a desart wood. 1856 BRYANT Poems, To a Waterfowl iv, The desert and illimitable air.
    3. Uncultivated and unproductive, barren, waste; of the nature of a desert.
    1393 GOWER Conf. III. 158 Prodegalite..is the moder of pouerte, Wherof the londes ben deserte. c1460 FORTESCUE Abs. & Lim. Mon. xiii, The contre..was tho almost diserte ffor lakke off tillers. 1634 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. 52 The Countrey..is desart, sterile and full of loose sand. 1697 DRYDEN Virg. Georg. IV. 147 A thirsty Train That long have travell'd thro' a Desart Plain. 1716 LADY M. W. MONTAGU Let. to C'tess of Mar 17 Nov., The kingdom of Bohemia is the most desert of any I have seen in Germany. 1839 THIRLWALL Greece VI. li. 243 A cross-road leading over a desert arid tract.
    4. fig. Dry, uninteresting. rare.
    a1674 MILTON Hist. Mosc. Pref. (1851) 470 To save the Reader a far longer travail of wandring through so many desert Authors.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #42

    Re: desert and deserted

    I think I've lost track of what the actual question or argument is.

    But I want to make a point about English dictionaries in general.
    There are a lot of near synonyms in English, because English has taken words from a lot of languages.
    A dictionary's definitions are not a list of words that can be used in place of the index word. They are meant to explain what the index word means.
    From that perspective, I think the Free Dictionary, and all dictionaries to a point, are not necessarily wrong, but they need some discretion in interpeting them. So, from Free Dictionary,
    desert (adj): desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied <a desert island>
    or from OED:
    2. Uninhabited, unpeopled, desolate, lonely.
    This can't be taken to mean that you can use 'desert'(adj) to mean 'lonely'. You have to read the whole definition holistically. The words in the definition are additive; they're not meant to be taken out of context and used as a literal replacement for the index word. The examples also have to be read as part of the 'definition', since they give a typical use of the word in that context.

    Now, whether this means that a dictionary entry is "wrong" or whether it's the user who is using a wrong concept of what a certain dictionary is, is a matter for debate (which I'm not keen on having). Some dictionaries are more strict in defining words; others are more suggestive. There are no perfect dictionaries.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #43

    Re: desert and deserted

    You are right that parts of Antarctica are deserts, but they are defined by precipitation, which is what I assume you meant by humidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Maybe I'll paste the excerpt so that everybody can see it:

    I'm not sure if I can do it without violating the copyright. If I can't please tell me, I will remove it.
    The rule of Fair Use covers quoting things for legitimate discussion, reviews, etc. Give the URL or reference and don't quote excessively.

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    #44

    Re: desert and deserted

    Thank you for the entry, Raymott. The first meaning is exactly what I meant, if anybody cares

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