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 Daschle said that alienating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus of GOP members would be counterproductive when the Democrats' hold on power is so tenuous that a single defection could sink the party's legislative agenda. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Former Democratic Senate leader opposes impeaching Trump," 13 Jan. 2021 Crossroads for cable and broadcast Traditional TV networks already were reeling from a defection of viewers and prominent writer-producers to streaming services before the pandemic hit. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, "Shaken studios. Empty theaters. What Hollywood lost during the pandemic," 9 Dec. 2020 But the gamesmanship was scrambled with Saar’s defection. Washington Post, "Israeli government on the verge of collapse after lawmakers fail to reach budget compromise," 22 Dec. 2020 One of the most riveting segments of the movie details Fedorov’s defection. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "'The Russian Five' debuts on PBS: Relive the thrills of Detroit Red Wings' iconic group," 17 Dec. 2020 Collins and Murkowski make two, meaning there is room for one unexpected GOP defection and Vice President Mike Pence would still be able to break a 50-50 tie vote. Tyler Olson, Fox News, "Toomey supports moving ahead with filling Supreme Court seat vacated by Ginsburg," 22 Sep. 2020 Despite Raslan’s defection, which some see as more opportunistic than authentic, there is strong evidence implicating him in these crimes. Nate Berg, The New Republic, "The Man Who Wants to Take Down Bashar Al Assad," 14 Dec. 2020 One of them is Chris Ahn, who Kim called on to help with a high-profile defection. Seyward Darby, Longreads, "The Secret Group Trying to Topple North Korea’s Regime," 25 Nov. 2020 The defection of Republican voters who backed the Democratic president-elect but voted GOP for Congress and in state and local races are the culprit. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Top House conservative plots post-Trump GOP," 19 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for defection

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The first known use of defection was in 1532

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Statistics for defection

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on defection

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defection

Nglish: Translation of defection for Spanish Speakers

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