[ desk-top ]
/ ˈdɛskˌtɒp /


small or compact enough to fit or be used on a desk: a desktop calendar.


the surface of a desk.
  1. Also called desktop computer. a computer that is not portable, often consisting of a CPU, monitor, keyboard, and mouse.Compare laptop.
  2. the primary display screen of a graphical user interface, on which various icons represent files, groups of files, programs, or the like, which can be moved, accessed, added to, put away, or thrown away in ways analogous to the handling of file folders, documents, notes, etc., on a real desk.

Nearby words

  1. deskfast,
  2. deskill,
  3. deskman,
  4. desknote,
  5. deskperson,
  6. desktop publishing,
  7. desman,
  8. desmid,
  9. desmitis,
  10. desmo-

Origin of desktop

First recorded in 1925–30; desk + top1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for desktop

British Dictionary definitions for desktop


/ (ˈdɛskˌtɒp) /


the main screen display on a personal computer, from which windows may be opened and programs run
(modifier) denoting a computer system, esp for word processing, that is small enough to use at a desk
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 desktop



1929, from desk + top. As an adjective meaning "suitable for use on a desktop," it is recorded from 1958 (in reference to computers). As a shortening of desktop computer, recorded from 1983. Desktop publishing recorded from 1984.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper