Writing Tip 111: Just Deserts or Just Desserts?

Just deserts or just dessertsToday, allow me to blow your spelling-bee hating mind. If someone gets what they deserve, do they get their “just deserts” or their “just desserts”?

Oh, I know, you’re confident on this one. Just listen to that pronunciation!

Starting off with refreshers, we know that a tasty post-meal treat is a “dessert” (s x 2). We know that cacti grow in “deserts” (s x 1).

When you use the “just deserts”/”just desserts” expression, it is pronounced the same way you say “desserts.” It’s clearly not talking about a sandy, dry locale. There’s probably some etymological backstory about a poisoned soufflé or something, right? Yeah, that guy got his “just desserts,” someone once said, and it stuck, right? Someone like Shakespeare? Something from Titus Andronicus? If you think about it hard enough, it almost makes sense, doesn’t it?

But then, of course, you would be wrong. More