learn the rule: just deserts or just desserts?

  • A desert is a large expanse of arid land.
  • Dessert is typically the sweet part of a meal, normally eaten after the main course.
  • To get just deserts is an idiomatic expression that means "to get what one deserves" typically in the sense of comeuppance (punishment) but may also mean reward.
  • People commonly spell the deserts/desserts word incorrectly.
  • The correct spelling is deserts. They etymology is an original derivation from deserve.
  • Spelling it desserts is common because the pronunciation of desert in this context is similar to the way dessert is pronounced (and opposing the other pronunciation when referring to the large expanse of arid land).
  • It is never 'deserves.'
  • If a person received their pudding rightly and fairly then 'just desserts' would be acceptable.
  • Nevertheless, getting it wrong is pretty easy. It still makes you look stupid and you will likely get your just deserts.