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Any place that is characterized by having a distinct lack of complexity, vibrancy, vitality, or interest in intellectual and artistic activity. After living in New York City for seven years, this little town is something of a cultural desert by comparison. Once considered a cultural desert, the country is now teeming with new museums, extravagant theater productions, and a truly vibrant and eclectic music scene.
See also: desert
desert (someone or something) for (someone or something)
To leave or abandon someone or something for someone or something else. After years of being underpaid, she finally deserted her corporate job. I deserted my homeland for a country that had more opportunities available to me.
desert (someone or something) to (someone or something)
To leave or abandon someone or something to someone or something else. We can't desert Timmy to his grandmother—you know that vile woman can't be trusted! In order to pay the mortgage on my manse, I had to desert several of my jewels to auction.
desert a sinking ship
To leave a situation in which failure is imminent. This phrase alludes to rats, the first ones said to flee a sinking ship. The CEO's sudden resignation seemed strange at the time, but now we know that he was just deserting a sinking ship, as the company has become plagued by scandal.
desert and reward seldom keep company
proverb One will often not receive an anticipated reward. Don't get too hopeful that the teacher will recognize your hard work because desert and reward seldom keep company.
A solider who has only recently arrived in the desert during a war. Oh, you must be a desert cherry. What's your name?
A nickname for coccidioidomycosis, an infection of the lungs and skin caused by inhaling a fungus commonly found in arid areas. She's been coughing nonstop since her trip to the desert—I hope she doesn't have desert rheumatism.
See also: desert
A location that lack options for nutritious food. The phrase is often associated with urban areas with stores that mostly offer non-perishable food. Good luck finding fresh vegetables around here—this part of the city is a real food desert.
get (one's) just deserts
To receive that which one deserves, especially a punishment or unfavorable outcome. (Often misspelled as "just desserts," due to the pronunciation of "deserts" being the same as "desserts" in this context.) The CEO cheated his clients out of nearly $4 million, but he got his just deserts when he was stripped of everything he owned and sent to prison for life.
That which one deserves, especially a punishment or unfavorable outcome. Usually used in the phrase "get/receive one's just deserts." (Note: The phrase is often misspelled as "just desserts," due to the pronunciation of "deserts" and "desserts" being the same in this context.) The CEO cheated his clients out of nearly $4 million, but he got his just deserts when he was stripped of everything he owned and sent to prison.
like rats deserting a sinking ship
With great haste and having only personal wellbeing in mind. (Typically said of people who begin abandoning something or someone that is failing or about to fail.) I knew the business was doomed when employees started quitting en masse, like rats deserting a sinking ship. Like rats deserting a sinking ship, the disgraced athlete's corporate sponsors began pulling their sponsorships one after another.
rats desert a sinking ship
The least loyal, trustworthy, or dependable people will be the first to begin abandoning a failing endeavor. Times of crisis will test the loyalty of the people you've hired. Rats desert a sinking ship, while the people worth holding onto the most will stay until the very end.
rats deserting a sinking ship
The people who begin to abandon something or someone that is failing or about to fail with great haste and having only personal wellbeing in mind. The phrase can also be used in the singular, but this is less common. After the new party leader's embarrassing and incendiary comments, many have begun distancing themselves from him and the party's ethos, giving the impression of rats deserting a sinking ship. It's true that I am resigning, but I am not a rat deserting a sinking ship. I have full confidence in this company, I am merely changing course in my career.
receive (one's) just deserts
To receive that which one deserves, especially a punishment or unfavorable outcome. (Note: The phrase is often misspelled as "just desserts," due to the pronunciation of "deserts" and "desserts" being the same in this context.) The CEO cheated his clients out of nearly $4 million, but he received his just deserts when he was stripped of everything he owned and sent to prison.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
desert a sinking shipand leave a sinking ship
Fig. to leave a place, a person, or a situation when things become difficult or unpleasant. (Rats are said to be the first to leave a ship that is sinking.) I hate to be the one to desert a sinking ship, but I can't work for a company that continues to lose money. There goes Tom. Wouldn't you know he'd leave a sinking ship rather than stay around and try to help?
Desert and reward seldom keep company.
Prov. If you deserve a reward, you are not necessarily going to get it. Jill: I worked so hard on that project, and Fred is taking all the credit for it. Jane: You know how it goes; desert and reward seldom keep company.
desert (someone or something) for (someone or something else)
to leave someone for someone else; to leave something or some place for some other thing or place. She deserted her husband for another man. Many retirees have deserted northern states for the warmer climates of the South.
desert someone or something to someone or something
to abandon someone or something to someone or something; to let someone or something have someone or something. Who deserted this child to her horrible fate? Sam deserted his land to the horde of grubby prospectors.
get one's just desertsand get one's just reward(s); get one's
[specified by context] to get what one deserves. I feel better now that Jane got her just deserts. She really insulted me. The criminal who was sent to prison got his just rewards. You'll get yours!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
desert a sinking ship
Abandon a failing enterprise before it is too late. For example, After seeing the company's financial statement, he knew it was time to desert a sinking ship . This metaphoric expression alludes to rats, which leave a vessel when it founders in a storm or runs aground so as to escape drowning. It was transferred to human behavior by about 1600.
A deserved punishment or reward, as in He got his just deserts when Mary jilted him. This idiom employs desert in the sense of "what one deserves," a usage dating from the 1300s but obsolete except in this expression.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
COMMON If you say that someone has got their just deserts, you mean that they deserve the unpleasant things that have happened to them. Note: The noun `deserts' is related to the verb `deserve', and it is pronounced with stress on its second syllable. Some people felt sympathy for the humbled superstar. Others felt she was getting the just deserts of an actress with a reputation for being difficult. Many said the man who once headed a £4 billion empire had received his just deserts. Note: `Deserts' is an old-fashioned word meaning a reward or punishment which is deserved.
like rats deserting a sinking shipor
like rats leaving a sinking ship
If you describe people who are leaving an organization as being like rats deserting a sinking ship or like rats leaving a sinking ship, you mean they are leaving very quickly because the organization is failing. They abandoned their former colleagues and party like rats deserting a sinking ship. Nelson and Woodward are like rats leaving a sinking ship. Loyalty is not a word they understand. Note: This expression is often used in a disapproving way.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
get (or receive) your just desertsreceive what you deserve, especially appropriate punishment.
rats deserting a sinking shippeople hurrying to get away from an enterprise or organization that is failing. informal
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
get your (just) deˈsertsget what you deserve, especially when it is something bad: The family of the victim said that the killer had got his just deserts when he was jailed for life.
Deserts is an old-fashioned word for the rewards or punishments that somebody deserves.
(like rats) deserting/leaving a sinking ˈship(humorous, disapproving) used to talk about people who leave an organization, a company, etc. that is having difficulties, without caring about the people who are left: One by one, employees began looking for other jobs, like rats deserting a sinking ship. ♢ I might have known he’d be the first rat to desert this sinking ship!
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. a new soldier in a desert war; a soldier new to the desert in wartime. (see also cherry.) About 5,000 desert cherries arrived last week. Something is going to happen soon.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Deserved reward or punishment. The word desert in this meaning—that is, what is deserved—is almost obsolete except in this cliché but was commonly used until about the mid-eighteenth century. “Desert and rewarde be oft tymes thinges far od” appeared in John Heywood’s Proverbs (1546) and several later collections as well. In other words, what one deserves and the reward one receives are often quite different.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer