Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A usually sweet course or dish, as of fruit, ice cream, or pastry, served at the end of a meal.
  • n. Chiefly British Fresh fruit, nuts, or sweetmeats served after the sweet course of a dinner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sweet confection served as the last course of a meal

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A service of pastry, fruits, or sweetmeats, at the close of a feast or entertainment; pastry, fruits, etc., forming the last course at dinner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A service of fruits and sweetmeats at the close of a repast; the last course at table: in the United States often used to include pies, puddings, and other sweet dishes.
  • n. Dessert-service, the dishes, plates, etc., used in serving dessert.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a dish served as the last course of a meal

Etymologies

French, from Old French desservir, to clear the table : des-, de- + servir, to serve; see serve.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French dessert, from desservir ("disserve"), from dés- ("dis-") and servir ("serve"), thus literally meaning “removal of what has been served”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • WORDS ACCENTED ON THE LAST SYLLABLE: address _address'_ adept _adept'_ adult _adult'_ ally _ally'_ commandant _commandänt '(ä as in arm) _ contour _contour'_ dessert _dessert'_ dilate _dilate'_ excise _eksiz'_ finance _finance'_ grimace _grimace'_ importune _importune'_ occult _occult'_ pretence _pretence'_ research _research'_ robust _robust'_ romance _romance'_ tirade _tirade'_

    Practical Grammar and Composition

  • "The term dessert wine is a taboo today -- 'dry' is where it's at," said Daniel Johnnes, wine director for the Dinex Group in New York.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • One of the reasons I like using sweet potatoes in dessert is that it really makes for a guilt-free experience when their nutritional properties are considered.

    Sweet Potato Flan: Flan de Camote

  • So it's your job to take back the stage in the end and reach your audience emotionally with what they call "dessert," which can be a quote or a reference to some inspirational content.

    Ruth Starkman: Reaching Your Audience

  • Needless to say, this dessert is another entry for MBP: Less is More.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • All you need to know about this dessert is the reaction it received, a prolonged mmmm, a content sigh and a broad smile.

    Restaurant Review: Cittanuova (East Hampton)

  • Beth said ... lately, i've replaced peanut butter in dessert recipes with a dark chocolate peanut butter that a friend brought me from nyc. it's over-the-top good. this might be a great way to use the last of the jar!

    Peanut butter pie recipe | Homesick Texan

  • The dessert is soaked with chocolate sauce and comes with whipped cream on top.

    Paris Dining in NYC

  • Serve in cute glassware to disguise the fact that once scooped, the dessert is not nearly as pretty.

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • Second, it's a (almost) dry rendition (most of the Vignoles with any sort of pedigree is used in dessert and ice-style wines).

    Long Island Wine

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  • Desserts I desire not, so long no lost one rise distressed.

    October 18, 2008