Definitions

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

  • n. Something considered necessary or highly desirable: "The point is not that the artist has 'penetrated the character' of his sitter, that commonplace desideratum of portraiture” ( Robert Hughes).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something that is wished for, or considered desirable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Anything desired; that of which the lack is felt; a want generally felt and acknowledge.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Something desired or desirable; that which is lacking or required.

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

  • n. something desired as a necessity

Etymologies

Latin dēsīderātum, from neuter past participle of dēsīderāre, to desire; see desire.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin past participle passive of desiderare ("to desire") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The only social desideratum from the perspective of justice might be some H, but a principle of fairness might constrain the way H is allocated, such that it’s not required to feed everyone to the Utility Monster, if there are any in the society.

    Happy Happy Happy

  • "Plain English" such a one will call his desideratum, as one might call the viands on a New Cut barrow

    Mankind in the Making

  • “Plain English” such a one will call his desideratum, as one might call the viands on a

    Mankind in the Making

  • In a conversation with Mr. Gladstone in 1887, he referred to the enormous power and responsibilities of the United States, and suggested that a desideratum was a new unity between our two countries.

    Southern Literature From 1579-1895 A comprehensive review, with copious extracts and criticisms for the use of schools and the general reader

  • Some of the champions of the "rights of women," in our day, apparently commit the error of inverting the real desideratum, which is, to make men renounce and love like the finest women -- not to make women exact and fight like the coarsest men.

    The Friendships of Women

  • With regard to this motor, engineers and electricians had been approaching more and more to that desideratum which is known as a steam horse in a watch case.

    Robur the Conqueror

  • And, surely, such a "desideratum" may best be effected by a careful perusal of the manuals to be included in the present series.

    Musicians of To-Day

  • -- Upon some future occasion we shall perhaps take an opportunity of stating what is in our opinion the great desideratum which is still to be supplied in the art of education considered simply in its _intellectual_ purposes -- viz. the communication of knowledge, and the development of the intellectual faculties: purposes which have not been as yet treated in sufficient insulation from the _moral_ purposes.

    The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey—Vol. 1 With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg

  • New Testaments, and the idea that shall reconcile all as so many several forms, and as it were perspectives, of one and the same truth -- this is still a 'desideratum' in Christian theology.

    The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Pretty obviously “thing defined,” as Beamish says — like “desideratum.”

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Definiendum

Comments

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  • I require more words like this.

    October 11, 2008