desert

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desert

a terrestrial environment in which there is poor soil, climatic extremes of high and low temperatures and low rainfall, and consequently a scarcity of living organisms, all of which must be specially adapted. See XEROPHYTE, METABOLIC WATER.
References in classic literature ?
To the left lay the vast desert. This spot appears to be the outpost of the fertile country, and it would be difficult to say to what natural causes such an abrupt change in the character of the soil is due.
Forgive me an old after-dinner song, which I once composed amongst daughters of the desert:--
About three hours after, when we were entered upon a desert of about fifteen or sixteen miles over, we knew by a cloud of dust they raised, that the enemy was at hand, and presently they came on upon the spur.
-Speculations on What May Be the Future Population.- Apprehended Dangers.-A Plot to Desert.-Rose the Interpreter.- His Sinister Character- Departure From the Arickara Village.
Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Saviour's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye.
As a precaution, however, the party halted on Bear River and hunted for a few days, until they had laid in a supply of dried buffalo meat and venison; they then passed by the head waters of the Cassie River, and soon found themselves launched on an immense sandy desert. Southwardly, on their left, they beheld the Great Salt Lake, spread out like a sea, but they found no stream running into it.
"In the first place," said the General, "we cannot march across the deadly desert to the Land of Oz.
ALL PERSONS ARE WARNED NOT TO VENTURE UPON THIS DESERT
For six hours they rode rapidly across the burning desert, avoiding the oases near which their way led.
But Jacinto would not let them, making them desert. Tolpec went away with the others, but because of what Tom had done he planned to come back at the first chance and be our guide.
The appearance of this part of Africa was, moreover, quite calculated to inspire alarm: the desert was gradually expanding around them; not another village was to be seen--not even a collection of a few huts; and vegetation also was disappearing.
A broad green carpet was unrolling itself upon the desert, while advancing across the carpet was a wonderful procession that made the girl open her eyes in amazement as she gazed.