Get One's Just Deserts, to

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Meaning of Idiom 'To Get One's Just Deserts'

To get one's just deserts means to get what one deserves; to get a deserved punishment; to get a deserved reward. 1, 2

Usage

This idiom is much more often used in the negative than in the positive. To "get your just deserts" usually means to get the punishment or suffer the consequences you deserve for some wrong action.

Examples:

"Morrison finally got his just deserts."

"After failing to protect his team from the unfair accusations of the new management, he too was fired. If you ask me, it seems like just deserts."

"Edwards had been embezzling money from the charity for years before he was caught but now he will get his just deserts."

Origin

Although the word "desert" is spelled the same as the noun meaning a dry arid environment, or the verb meaning to abandon, it is pronounced like dessert, the usually sweet dish we eat at the end of meals. However, this idiom uses a very old meaning of the word desert in use toward the end of the 1200's, meaning "a much-deserved reward or prize." This usage evolved to generally refer to that which one deserves. The origin of the word dessert, and this curious use of the word desert, are connected, however. 1,3

Sources
1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
3. Troy, Eric. “CulinaryLore.com.” What Is the Origin of the Word Dessert?, Culinary Lore, www.culinarylore.com/food-history:origin-of-the-word-dessert.

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