I saw the word desk used, according to my thinking, as a verb in a sentence, and I was wondering if this usage is correct or if it was an error from the authors.

You can find the sentence here, at the end of the news section : ECML PKDD

5 June 2019
Today, we published the list of accepted papers. Out of more than 700 submissions we accepted 102 papers in the research track and 28 papers in the applied data science track. We desk rejected several papers for (self-)plagiarism and violation of the double submission policy (together with IJCAI and NeurIPS).


3 Answers 3


The expression appears to be from journalistic jargon:

Desk Rejected

... A desk reject means that the program chairs (or editors) reject a paper without consulting the reviewers. This is done for papers that fail to meet the submission requirements, and which hence cannot be accepted. Filtering out desk rejects in advance is common practice for both conferences and journals.


  • 1
    This suggests, and the content of the article confirms, that desk reject is (also) being used as an (open form) compound (verb). So the answer is 'It is used as if it was a legitimate lexeme'. As for acceptability: it is in this article a clear usage, well-defined and reasonably constructed. As to how widely understood it is: obviously, at the moment it belongs (if anywhere) solely within the relevant journalistic jargon domain. It would be unreasonable to use it elsewhere without an explanation, as it's not totally transparent (which/whose 'desk' does the rejecting? On what grounds?) Jul 6, 2019 at 9:39
  • I am desked by the audacity of these people.
    – user205876
    Jul 6, 2019 at 16:13
  • 9
    This meaning is commonplace in scientific/academic publishing for cases when the editor rejects a manuscript without sending it out to for peer review. The link you provide also discusses this case, as does OP's link. Is it also used in regular journalistic endeavors, e.g. newspapers or magazines?
    – Anyon
    Jul 6, 2019 at 16:52

As noted, your example is probably not desk used as a verb.

The Oxford English Dictionary does list desk as a verb, but it is marked obsolete. Nevertheless, here is some information about that obsolete verb.

1. transitive. To fit up or furnish with desks.
That the said Chapell be desked.

2. To place in or as in a desk.
A leafe of that small Iliade That in a wall-nut shell was desk't.
Then are you entertaind, and deskt up by Our Ladies Psalter and the Rosary.
I..saw many curious relicks desked vp in the side of the wall.

3. to desk it: to work at a desk, do clerical work.

  • 1
    I don't have a citation offhand, but I've seen it used as v.t. in the sense of "send to a desk", e.g. as an administrative punishment for police or military personnel. Jul 6, 2019 at 19:15
  • 1
    Dictionary or not, I doubt there are nouns that truly can't be used as verbs in English. Jul 6, 2019 at 22:57
  • 1
    I think Bart Simpson said: "Every noun can be verbed."
    – GEdgar
    Jul 6, 2019 at 23:51
  • 3
    @GEdgar But are all those verbings equally renounable? :)
    – tchrist
    Jul 7, 2019 at 0:29
  • I wouldn't say it's obsolete, lots of firms nowadays 'hot' desk. Jul 7, 2019 at 12:57

I will also propose hot-desking, which is an intransitive verb according to Collins


Word forms: hot-desks, hot-desking, hot-desked

intransitive verb

If employees hot-desk, they are not assigned particular desks and work at any desk that is available.


Some employees will have to hot-desk until more accommodation can be found.


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