an article of furniture having a broad, usually level, writing surface, as well as drawers or compartments for papers, writing materials, etc.
a frame for supporting a book from which the service is read in a church.
a pulpit.
the section of a large organization, as a governmental bureau or newspaper, having authority over and responsibility for particular operations within the organization: city desk; foreign desk.
a table or counter, as in a library or office, at which a specific job is performed or a service offered: an information desk; reception desk.
a stand used to support sheet music; music stand.
(in an orchestra) a seat or position assigned by rank (usually used in combination): a first-desk flutist.
of or pertaining to a writing desk: a desk drawer.
of a size or form suitable for use on a desk: desk dictionary.
done at or based on a desk, as in an office or schoolroom: He used to be a traveling salesman, but now he has a desk job.

1350–1400; Middle English deske < Medieval Latin desca, descus desk, lectern, probably < a Romance-influenced form of Latin discus discus; cf. dais, dish, Medieval Latin discus refectory table Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
desk (dɛsk)
1.  a piece of furniture with a writing surface and usually drawers or other compartments
2.  a service counter or table in a public building, such as a hotel: information desk
3.  a support, lectern, or book rest for the book from which services are read in a church
4.  the editorial section of a newspaper, etc, responsible for a particular subject: the news desk
5.  a.  a music stand shared by two orchestral players
 b.  these two players
6.  (modifier)
 a.  made for use at a desk: a desk calendar
 b.  done at a desk: a desk job
[C14: from Medieval Latin desca table, from Latin discus disc, dish]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., from M.L. desca "table to write on" (c.1250), from L. discus "quoit, platter, dish," from Gk. diskos. The M.L. is perhaps via It. desco. Used figuratively of office or clerical work since 1797; desk job is first attested 1965. Desk-top (adj.) is from 1958; desk-top publishing first recorded
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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