cake, pie, fruit, pudding, ice cream, etc., served as the final course of a meal.
British. a serving of fresh fruit after the main course of a meal.

1780–90; < French, derivative of desservir to clear the table. See dis-1, serve

1. desert, dessert ; 2. deserts, desserts. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dessert (dɪˈzɜːt)
1.  the sweet, usually last course of a meal
2.  chiefly (Brit) (esp formerly) fruit, dates, nuts, etc, served at the end of a meal
[C17: from French, from desservir to clear a table, from des-dis-1 + servir to serve]

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

1600, from M.Fr. dessert (1539) "last course," lit. "removal of what has been served," from desservir "clear the table," lit. "un-serve," from des- "remove, undo" + O.Fr. servir "to serve."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the last course of a meal. In the United States dessert is likely to consist of pastry, cake, ice cream, pudding, or fresh or cooked fruit. British meals traditionally end with nuts, fruits, and port or other dessert wine, while French practice is to end with fruit, cheese, and wine; in both cuisines, a more elaborate meal would include a sweet course preceding the dessert offerings. In Spain, Portugal, and Latin-American countries, desserts of flan (a baked caramel custard) are ubiquitous. Other rich sweets based on eggs, milk, and fruits also are preferred. The elaborate cakes and tarts of central and northern Europe make the dessert course a glory of these cuisines. Indian cuisine offers sweet puddings and dense cakes flavoured with rosewater, honey, and nuts

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Dessert includes cheese followed by cakes, berry and fruit salads, and ice
Or leave out the curry powder and throw in some fresh berries to make a
  colorful sweet slaw that's perfect as a dessert.
The winery produces several variations of wine including semi-sweet wines,
  dessert wines, dry white wines and spiced wines.
Dessert is a bowl of fruit accompanied with hot sweet, milky tea.
Images for dessert
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