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  1. cake, pie, fruit, pudding, ice cream, etc., served as the final course of a meal.
  2. British. a serving of fresh fruit after the main course of a meal.
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Origin of dessert

1780–90; < French, derivative of desservir to clear the table. See dis-1, serve
Can be confuseddesert dessertdeserts desserts
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for dessert


  1. the sweet, usually last course of a meal
  2. mainly British (esp formerly) fruit, dates, nuts, etc, served at the end of a meal
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Word Origin

C17: from French, from desservir to clear a table, from des- dis- 1 + servir to serve
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 dessert


c.1600, from Middle French dessert (mid-16c.) "last course," literally "removal of what has been served," from desservir "clear the table," literally "un-serve," from des- "remove, undo" (see dis-) + Old French servir "to serve" (see serve (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper