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A deserted desert: Various ways of looking at a small group of words

  • Michael Bulley

This article is about a small group of words in English, ones beginning with the prefix <de->, followed by <s> and a vowel. If we omit rare words and obvious derivations, we end up with the following list:

desalinate, desaturate, desecrate, desegregate, deselect, desensitise, desert, deserve, desiccate, design, designate, desire, desist, desolate, desuetude, desultory

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Collins English Dictionary, 3rd Edition. 1995. Glasgow: HarperCollins.
Lewis, C. & Short, C.A Latin Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Online at the Perseus Project at
MacMillan English Dictionary. Accessed in July 2015 via
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition. Springfield: Merriam-Webster. Online at
The Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary, 3rd Edition. 2001. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
  • URL: /core/journals/english-today
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