desert » dessert

Chiefly in:   just desserts

Variant(s):  (eat one's) just deserts

Classification: English – hidden – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • And, at the same time, if someone committed a murder and confessed to a priest in hopes of salvation/forgiveness/etc. one would hope they have the balls to walk up to the plate and eat their just desserts. (, July 24, 2001)
  • I mean, for the past 500 comics I’ve been waiting for Thief to eat his just desserts…and every time that he’s come close it never happend. But now…when he came close to being right… Oh god. (Nuclear Power Forums, July 14, 2005)
  • But the gutless little fuckin coward probably wouln’t come out of his hole.No different than sadam or osama.I just believe this puke needs to eat his just desert before, he slitters his way of this rock. (blog comment, February 10, 2004)
  • This is no formulaic D&D romp; you won’t find invincible heroes and stalwart dwarves singing about gold, you won’t see fragile maidens swooning over a stout swordarm, you most certainly won’t reach a happy ending, with all the loose ends tied and all the bad guys eating their just desserts while the good guys pair off and ride into the sunset. ( customer review, July 21, 1999)

Analyzed or reported by:

_Get one’s just desserts_ has been suggested as a potential eggcorn a number of times. It is not an unproblematic reshaping, however: inadvertent double/single consonant misspellings are extremely common, as this web search shows. I have therefore collected examples that include further circumstantial evidence that the author thought of _dessert_ as something edible. This is why the occurrences employ the verb _eat_ instead of _get_. As always, it is necessary to weed out intentional puns.

When the context is that of a meal, but the word spelled _desert_ (correctly for the idiom, but an error if the target is _dessert_), we have either an inadvertent slip or a writer who remembers their spelling lessons for _getting one’s just deserts_. The eggcorn then becomes effectively a hidden one.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/09/21 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Dan Heuchert , 2006/08/09 at 12:19 pm

    I often see “getting one’s just deserves,” which adds another element of justice, I suppose.

  2. 2

    Commentary by Dylan Nicholson , 2006/11/23 at 10:10 pm

    The most difficult part of this is convincing people that it *is* spelled ‘deserts’ with no double-s. A good number of otherwise well-educated careful spellers will argue black and blue that it should have a double-s until you show them a dictionary that explicitly lists this usage.

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