de·​fec·​tion | \ di-ˈfek-shən How to pronounce defection (audio) \

Definition of defection

: conscious abandonment of allegiance or duty (as to a person, cause, or doctrine) : desertion

Examples of defection in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With Jeff Flake, who is retiring, and Susan Collins saying there should be hearings, and the Republicans holding only a 51-49 majority, two defections could kill the nomination, even if the GOP bypasses the committee for a floor vote. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "The moral and political dilemma created by Kavanaugh's accuser," 18 Sep. 2018 Kelly’s Humor currently ranks 17th on the Kentucky Oaks points list and would need three defections to make the field. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Derby 2018 notes | Romans going with 'home team' for his two jockeys," 21 Apr. 2018 With a 51-49 majority, Republican leaders can afford no more than one defection for the nomination to succeed. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "GOP Confidence in Kavanaugh Confirmation Grows," 4 Oct. 2018 Trump can afford only one GOP defection and still confirm his nominee to the nation's highest court. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Sen. John McCain's illness could complicate President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick," 9 July 2018 Contrary to some expectations, Sharif has managed to prevent defections despite the criminal charges. Khalid Qayum,, "Pakistan's Ruling Party Strengthens Grip in Senate Elections," 3 Mar. 2018 Analysts said a defection during the Olympics would be highly unlikely because the North has almost certainly vetted its delegation carefully and would keep its people under close watch. Amy Qin, New York Times, "Protecting an Olympics Held in North Korea’s Nuclear Shadow," 1 Feb. 2018 Meanwhile, DirecTV has been walloped by customer defections, a problem that has weighed on AT&T’s stock price for much of the last year. Meg James, The Seattle Times, "Viacom, AT&T reach deal that keeps Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central on DirecTV," 25 Mar. 2019 The group, Cheollima Civil Defense, comprises North Korean defectors and ethnic Koreans of other nationalities who seek to bring down the regime of Kim Jong Un by accelerating high-level defections. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "Secretive North Korea Agitators Took Hostages in Spain Embassy Raid," 27 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defection.' 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 defection

1532, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defection

borrowed from Latin dēfectiōn-, dēfectiō "falling short, failure, abandonment of allegiance," from dēficere "to be lacking, fail, become disaffected, go over (to the side of an opponent)" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at deficient

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Statistics for defection

Last Updated

20 May 2019

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Time Traveler for defection

The first known use of defection was in 1532

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Spanish Central: Translation of defection

Nglish: Translation of defection for Spanish Speakers

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