[ desk ]
See synonyms for desk on
  1. an article of furniture having a broad, usually level, writing surface, as well as drawers or compartments for papers, writing materials, etc.

  2. a frame for supporting a book from which the service is read in a church.

  1. a pulpit.

  2. the section of a large organization, as a governmental bureau or newspaper, having authority over and responsibility for particular operations within the organization: city desk; foreign desk.

  3. a table or counter, as in a library or office, at which a specific job is performed or a service offered: an information desk; reception desk.

  4. a stand used to support sheet music; music stand.

  5. (in an orchestra) a seat or position assigned by rank (usually used in combination): a first-desk flutist.

  1. of or relating to a writing desk: a desk drawer.

  2. of a size or form suitable for use on a desk: desk dictionary.

  1. done at or based on a desk, as in an office or schoolroom: He used to be a traveling salesman, but now he has a desk job.

Origin of desk

1350–1400; Middle English deske<Medieval Latin desca, descus desk, lectern, probably < a Romance-influenced form of Latin discusdiscus; cf. dais, dish, Medieval Latin discus refectory table

Words Nearby desk Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use desk in a sentence

  • At his desk sat his secretary, who had been a witness of the interview, lost in wonder almost as great as the Seneschal's own.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • Taking his stand at the end of the desk, he made MacRae reiterate in detail the grim happenings of that night.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Dobson, mouth agape, struck a little bell on the desk and the orderly stepped in from the outer room.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • When I again turned to Lessard he still stood at the end of the desk, industriously paring his fingernails.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • He took his accustomed seat at the desk, and placed a large ledger before him.

British Dictionary definitions for desk


/ (dɛsk) /

  1. a piece of furniture with a writing surface and usually drawers or other compartments

  2. a service counter or table in a public building, such as a hotel: information desk

  1. a support, lectern, or book rest for the book from which services are read in a church

  2. the editorial section of a newspaper, etc, responsible for a particular subject: the news desk

    • a music stand shared by two orchestral players

    • these two players

  3. (modifier)

    • made for use at a desk: a desk calendar

    • done at a desk: a desk job

Origin of desk

C14: from Medieval Latin desca table, from Latin discus disc, dish

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012