just deserts(redirected from just dessert)
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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