[dih-sid-uh-rey-tuh m, -rah-, -zid-]

noun, plural de·sid·er·a·ta [dih-sid-uh-rey-tuh, -rah-, -zid-] /dɪˌsɪd əˈreɪ tə, -ˈrɑ-, -ˌzɪd-/.

something wanted or needed.

Origin of desideratum

1645–55; < Latin, noun use of neuter past participle of dēsīderāre; see desiderate


[dih-sid-uh-rey-tuh, -rah-, -zid-]

plural noun, singular de·sid·er·a·tum.

things wanted or needed; the plural of desideratum: “Happily-ever-after” and “eternal love” appear to be the desiderata of the current generation; to whom “fat chance” say those of us who are older, wiser, and more curmudgeonly. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for desideratum

Contemporary Examples of desideratum

  • To produce and to sell securities in the greatest possible quantity—that was the desideratum.'

    The Daily Beast logo
    Goldman's Crisis Control

    Michael Thomas

    July 21, 2009

Historical Examples of desideratum

  • If health is a desideratum, one way to attain a lot of it is to cut out the booze.

    The Old Game

    Samuel G. Blythe

  • An appearance of antiquity is never a desideratum to the honest book-collector.

  • A revision of genus Cratægus has long been a desideratum with botanists.

  • For in that summery clime shade, not sun, is the desideratum.

    The Free Lances

    Mayne Reid

  • There is no sentiment in botany or in chemistry, and in them the desideratum is truth.

    Madame Bovary

    Gustave Flaubert

British Dictionary definitions for desideratum


noun plural -ta (-tə)

something lacked and wanted

Word Origin for desideratum

C17: from Latin; see desiderate



the plural of desideratum
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

Word Origin and History for desideratum

"something lacking," see desiderata.



plural of desideratum (1650s), from Latin, literally "something for which desire is felt," from past participle stem of desiderare "to long for" (see desire).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper