1. A usually sweet course or dish, as of fruit, ice cream, or pastry, served at the end of a meal.
2. Chiefly British Fresh fruit, nuts, or sweetmeats served after the sweet course of a dinner.
[French, from Old French desservir, to clear the table : des-, de- + servir, to serve; see SERVE.]
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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.