1. A piece of furniture typically having a flat top for writing, reading, or using a computer, and often drawers or compartments.
2. A table, counter, or booth at which specified services or functions are performed: an information desk; a reception desk.
3. A department of a large organization in charge of a specified operation: a newspaper's city desk.
4. A lectern.
5. A music stand in an orchestra.
[Middle English deske, from Medieval Latin desca, table, from Old Italian desco, from Latin discus, quoit; see DISK.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.