Definition of Desktop by Merriam-Webster


| ˈdesk-ˌtäp

Definition of desktop

(Entry 1 of 2)


: the top surface of a desk


: an area or window on a computer screen in which icons are arranged in a manner analogous to objects on top of a desk

Definition of desktop (Entry 2 of 2)

: of a size that can be conveniently used on a desk or table

desktop computers

— compare laptop — see also desktop publishing

Examples of desktop in a Sentence


The desktop was covered with books and stacks of papers.

He created a new folder on his desktop.


She is working on a desktop video project.

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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In those days, there was no such thing as desktop computers.

Jennifer Bogo, Popular Mechanics, “The Oral History of Apollo 11,” 17 July 2018

Keynote live stream: Apple is streaming the event live on its website for desktop and through the Apple Events app on the Apple TV.

Shannon Liao, The Verge, “How to watch Apple’s October iPad Pro and MacBook event,” 30 Oct. 2018

One evening last May in Knoxville, Tennessee, during the night of the local primary election, Dave Ball, the assistant IT director for Knox County, settled into the Naugahyde chair of his dusty home office and punched away at his desktop computer.

Benjamin Wofford, Vox, “The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.,” 25 Oct. 2018

In that context, developing a second version of Office that’s also for desktop Windows is superfluous.

Peter Bright, Ars Technica, “Microsoft suspends development of touch-friendly Office apps for Windows,” 28 Sep. 2018

The new line of keys include four flavors with varying USB styles and NFC capability for desktop and mobile devices.

Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, “Is This Finally the Beginning of the End for the Password?,” 24 Sep. 2018

In one case, the EU ordered Microsoft to sell a version of its Windows operating system for desktops without Microsoft’s own media player bundled in.

Sam Schechner, WSJ, “Why the Android Antitrust Case May Not Trouble Google,” 18 July 2018

Microsoft, once known for its dominance in desktop computer operating systems, has climbed more than 20 percent this year as investors grow increasingly confident in its push toward cloud computing.

Stefanie Marotta, The Seattle Times, “Microsoft bulls abound as shares rise to record before earnings,” 17 July 2018

The $16 monthly streaming subscription service, which launched in November 2017 on Roku devices, desktop and web browsers and iPhones, is now available on Amazon TV and Apple TV, the video service said Tuesday.

USA TODAY, “$16 per month streaming service Philo expands to Amazon Fire and Apple TV,” 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For anyone rocking a desktop PC, a new graphics card could be in order.

Ian Paul, PCWorld, “The 5 best deals in Newegg’s Early Black Friday Sale,” 2 Nov. 2018

Deals on various laptops, desktop PC, monitors, TVs, accessories, etc.

Ars Staff, Ars Technica, “Dealmaster: Memorial Day sales on TVs, laptops, and more are underway [Updated],” 28 May 2018

The third doesn’t exploit any vulnerability at all in Telegram, since (1) developers are clear the desktop version doesn’t provide secret chats and (2) the malware relies on the social engineering of a user.

Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, “It has been a bad week for encrypted messaging and it’s only Wednesday,” 16 May 2018

Microsoft is replacing the desktop version of OneNote with the Windows 10 version in Office 2019, along with making the entire Office suite only work on Windows 10.

Tom Warren, The Verge, “Microsoft Office 2019 kills off OneNote desktop app in favor of Windows 10 version,” 18 Apr. 2018

Installing Amazon Assistant will enable desktop notifications for Prime Day deals and offer $5 off a Prime Day order of $25 or more.

Jessica Suriano, azcentral, “How to shop like a pro during Amazon Prime Day,” 12 July 2018

The availability of applications in the Store is improving, but for now there remains large functional gaps that only desktop applications can fill.

Peter Bright, Ars Technica, “Latest Windows preview suggests you’ll be able to turn S Mode on and off,” 7 June 2018

Seeing our online readership shift from a predominantly desktop audience to a much larger smartphone audience underscored the need for our product and technology teams to prioritize mobile-first story forms.

New York Times, “Metrics Are Everywhere in Media. Here’s How They Help.,” 23 May 2018

According to NetMarketShare, Chrome is now used by 60 percent of web users, both on mobile and desktop devices, and Firefox looks respectable with 12 percent of desktops, but is almost a rounding error with only 0.6 percent of mobile devices.

Vlad Savov, The Verge, “It’s time to give Firefox a fresh chance,” 15 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘desktop.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desktop


1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1958, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for desktop

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

More Definitions for desktop

English Language Learners Definition of desktop

(Entry 1 of 2)

: the top surface of a desk

: a computer that is designed to be used on a desk or table : a desktop computer

: an area or window on a computer screen in which small pictures (called icons) are arranged like objects on top of a desk


| ˈdesk-ˌtäp

Kids Definition of desktop


: a computer that is used on a desk or table and is too big to be moved easily


: an area on a computer screen in which items are arranged as if they were objects on top of a desk

Comments on desktop

What made you want to look up desktop? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


pleasant sounding or melodious

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