American English

Definition of desert verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they desert
    he / she / it deserts
    past simple deserted
    -ing form deserting
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  1. 1[transitive] desert somebody to leave someone without help or support synonym abandon She was deserted by her husband.
  2. 2[transitive, often passive] desert something to go away from a place and leave it empty synonym abandon The villages had been deserted. The owl seems to have deserted its nest.
  3. 3[intransitive, transitive] desert (something) to leave the armed forces without permission Large numbers of soldiers deserted as defeat became inevitable.
  4. 4[transitive] desert something (for something) to stop using, buying, or supporting something Why did you desert teaching for politics?
  5. 5[transitive] desert somebody if a particular quality deserts you, it is not there when you need it Her courage seemed to desert her for a moment.
  6. NAmE//dɪˈzərʃn//
    noun [uncountable, countable] She felt betrayed by her husband's desertion. The army was badly affected by desertions.
  7. Idioms
    (like rats) deserting/leaving a sinking ship (humorous) (disapproving)
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    used to talk about people who leave an organization, a company, etc. that is having difficulties, without caring about the people who are left
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: desert