n. & adj.
n. a dry barren often sand-covered area of land, characteristically desolate, waterless, and without vegetation; an uninteresting or barren subject, period, etc. (a cultural desert).
adj. 1 uninhabited, desolate. 2 uncultivated, barren. desert boot a suede etc. boot reaching to or extending just above the ankle. desert island a remote (usu. tropical) island presumed to be uninhabited. desert rat Brit. colloq. a soldier of the 7th British armoured division (with the jerboa as a badge) in the n. African desert campaign of 1941-2.
[ ME f. OF f. L desertus, eccl.L desertum (n.), past part. of deserere leave, forsake ]