24 February 2017 - Is it 'Just Deserts' or 'Just Desserts'?
Is it Just Deserts or Just Desserts?
Here is another tricky expression.
terms, though only one letter apart and pronounced identically, have different
etymologies. The particular sense of desert that appears in just deserts ultimately
derives from the Old French verb deservir
meaning “to deserve,” and has been around in English since the late 1200s.
Dictionary.com defines desert
as “reward or punishment that is deserved.” The idiom get/receive one’s just deserts
means “to be punished or rewarded in a manner appropriate to one’s actions or
behavior.” The expression justdeserts, often
following the words “get one’s,” “have one’s,” “receive one’s,” or “meet with
one’s” has been used in English since the 1300s, and is still popular today.
Dessert with the double s ultimately derives from
the French desservir
meaning “to clear the table.” Dictionary.com defines dessert as “cake, pie,
fruit, pudding, ice cream, etc., served as the final course of meal.” While it
is certainly true that a meal of cake, and cake alone, could be called “just
desserts,” this is not the spelling or meaning of the phrase that has been
around in English since the late 1300s. Next time you’re talking about
make sure you use just deserts
with one s.
Clancy's comment: Mm ... So many things to remember, eh?