Just deserves

Michael Quinion wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Thu Jan 3 09:57:04 UTC 2008

The subject of "just des(s)erts" came up in World Wide Words this week.

One response, from someone who describes himself as having been born in a
rather isolated part of West Virginia, notes that around there the phrase
is "just deserves". This seems fairly common, to judge from searches in
Web pages and books, though my reference books are silent on it. It's not
the easiest expression to search for (and NPA goes crazy when you ask it
to look up exact phrases like "your just deserves").

Although I found an example in a letter of 1545, all my other book results
are from publications of the past three decades, which might suggest a
folk etymology.

Does anyone have information on today's regional scope and the historical
usage of "just deserves"?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: wordseditor at worldwidewords.org
Web: http://www.worldwidewords.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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