defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) , di-ˈ How to pronounce defect (audio) \

Definition of defect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an imperfection that impairs worth or utility : shortcoming the grave defects in our foreign policy A defect prevented the DVD from playing properly.
b chemistry : an imperfection (such as a vacancy or an unlike atom) in a crystal lattice (see lattice sense 2)
2 : a lack of something necessary for completeness, adequacy, or perfection : deficiency a hearing defect

defect

verb
de·​fect | \ di-ˈfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) \
defected; defecting; defects

Definition of defect (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to forsake one cause, party, or nation for another often because of a change in ideology a former KGB agent who defected to America
2 : to leave one situation (such as a job) often to go over to a rival the reporter defected to another network

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from defect

Verb

defector \ -​ˈfek-​tər How to pronounce defector (audio) \ noun

Examples of defect in a Sentence

Noun

They examine their products for defects. She was born with a heart defect. Vanity and pride were his two worst character defects.

Verb

The Russian scholar defected in 1979. She defected from the conservative party. He defected to the West before the war began. The reporter defected to another TV network.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With Manchin in the fold, the votes are there, as long as no other Republicans defect. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "CIA Nominee Gina Haspel Won’t Say If Torture Is Immoral," 9 May 2018 The report, released Tuesday, also showed that an inspection found no vehicle defects that might have contributed to the mid-March crash in which the driver died and 46 others were injured. John D. Harden, Houston Chronicle, "NTSB releases initial findings on Channelview ISD bus crash," 1 May 2018 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which also investigated the 2016 crash, found no defects with Autopilot. Kirsten Korosec, Fortune, "Tesla Blames Driver in Latest Fatal Model X Crash," 11 Apr. 2018 Federal regulators later ruled there were no defects in the system to cause the accident. Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, "Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Pedestrian in Arizona, Where Robots Roam," 19 Mar. 2018 Metro officials said the piece of rail had been inspected using the ultrasonic testing machine and also had been visually inspected by track walkers, but no defects were found. Martine Powers, Washington Post, "Get ready for emergency repairs on the Green Line," 15 Feb. 2018 Of the 244 infants born with this defect in the study, only 12 of them were born to women who used cannabis during the periconceptional period. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Here’s What You Need to Know About Using Marijuana While Pregnant or Breastfeeding," 12 Oct. 2018 The Reeses spent extended periods of time in hospitals when Jackson was born with a heart defect. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "An event that helps children with major medical challenges returns this summer to Okauchee," 1 June 2018 With this defect, drivers are still able to slow down and stop their car by hitting the breaks, shifting into neutral, or both. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "Fiat Chrysler Recalls 4.8 Million Vehicles That Can Get Stuck in Cruise Control," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Gurriel starred as a third baseman in Cuba before defecting to the United States in 2016. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Yuli Gurriel showing adept ability to scoop at first base," 16 June 2018 That was meant to send a chilling message to others who would think of defecting to, or informing, the West. Ellen Barry And David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say," 1 Apr. 2018 Somali police and Ethiopian troops who are part of the African Union force in Somalia last month arrested Mukhtar Robow, a former al-Shabaab spokesman who defected from the group; Ethiopia hasn’t commented about its role in the arrest. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 4 Jan. 2019 Tomás Ojea Quintana, the United Nations special rapporteur, said Tuesday at a news conference in Seoul, the South’s capital, that some of the women who defected had confirmed part of that version of events in interviews with him. New York Times, "North Korean Waitresses’ Defection May Have Been Forced, U.N. Official Says," 10 July 2018 Obama lost whites with no college degree by a very large margin in 2012, but Clinton did even worse — especially losing the support of the kind of Northern, relatively secular non-college whites who had not already defected from the GOP. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Swing voters are extremely real," 23 July 2018 That was one of four crucial votes in which Jones defected from much of his party. NBC News, "Alabama Democrat Doug Jones walks tightrope with Trump and his own party," 2 July 2018 Seoul has said the 12 women, who had worked at a restaurant in China, had defected and willingly settled in South Korea in 2016 but is now reviewing the circumstances following a media report suggesting at least some were brought against their will. Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "Rival Koreas agree to August reunions of war-split families," 22 June 2018 She is widely viewed as the most moderate Republican senator, and famously defected from her party to help sink Obamacare repeal last year. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Susan Collins will vote for Brett Kavanaugh, making his confirmation nearly certain," 5 Oct. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of defect

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defect

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Latin dēfectus "failure, absence, lack, weakness," from dēficere "to be lacking, run short, weaken, fail" + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at deficient

Verb

borrowed from Latin dēfectus, past participle of dēficere "to be lacking, fail, become disaffected, go over (to the side of an opponent)" — more at deficient

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about defect

Statistics for defect

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defect

The first known use of defect was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for defect

defect

noun

English Language Learners Definition of defect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a physical problem that causes something to be less valuable, effective, healthy, etc.
: something that causes weakness or failure

defect

verb

English Language Learners Definition of defect (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to leave a country, political party, organization, etc., and go to a different one that is a competitor or an enemy

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) , di-ˈfekt\

Kids Definition of defect

1 : something that makes a thing imperfect : flaw A slight defect lowered the diamond's value.
2 : a lack of something needed for perfection Doctors can correct the hearing defect.

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) , di-ˈ How to pronounce defect (audio) \

Medical Definition of defect

: a lack or deficiency of something necessary for adequacy in form or function a hearing defect

Keep scrolling for more

defect

noun
de·​fect | \ ˈdē-ˌfekt, di-ˈfekt How to pronounce defect (audio) \

Legal Definition of defect

: something or a lack of something that results in incompleteness, inadequacy, or imperfection: as
a : a flaw in something (as a product) especially that creates an unreasonable risk of harm in its normal use — see also latent defect
b : an error or omission in a court document (as an indictment or pleading)
c : some imperfection in the chain of title to property that makes the title unmarketable

Other Words from defect

defective \ di-​ˈfek-​tiv How to pronounce defective (audio) \ adjective
defectively adverb
defectiveness noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on defect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defect

Spanish Central: Translation of defect

Nglish: Translation of defect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defect for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about defect

Comments on defect

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the way words of a language are spelled

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!