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

That means that a defection by just one Republican could derail any nominee who does not have broad support. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "McConnell: Senate will vote this fall on replacement for Justice Kennedy on Supreme Court," 27 June 2018 The 21st horse on the points list is Blended Citizen, who would need a defection by early Friday morning to get into the 144th edition of the race., "Ross: Discussion With EU's Malmstrom Will Continue Over Tariffs," 1 May 2018 But anti-Maduro street protests have come and gone, and large-scale military defections have failed to materialize. Scott Smith, The Seattle Times, "Venezuela’s crisis hits stand-still over emergency aid," 12 Feb. 2019 As a result, any Republican defection could derail a Senate vote if Democrats band together in opposition as a bloc. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Supreme Court Pick Brett Kavanaugh to Face Questions on Probes of Presidents," 20 Aug. 2018 In Pyeongchang, South Korean security forces will also be watching, as neither side will want the publicity of a defection undercutting the message of unity between the two Koreas. Motoko Rich, New York Times, "Curious About the Lives of North Korea’s Isolated Athletes? Here’s a Glimpse," 7 Feb. 2018 Christian Zerpa’s embarrassing defection came days before Maduro begins his second term amid calls from critics and the international community to relinquish power. Scott Smith, The Seattle Times, "Venezuela Supreme Court judge flees to US to protest Maduro," 7 Jan. 2019 The apparent defection is a high-profile setback for the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and is likely to raise questions about loyalty within the Pyongyang elite. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "North Korean Diplomat in Rome Disappears," 3 Jan. 2019 Similarly in the Senate, Republicans’ slim 51-49 majority means that Flake’s defection could be enough to help sink a nomination, or at the very least trigger a tie-breaker. Li Zhou, Vox, "Senate committee cancels votes on judicial nominees after Jeff Flake’s Mueller ultimatum," 29 Nov. 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for defection

The first known use of defection was in 1532

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defection

Spanish Central: Translation of defection

Nglish: Translation of defection for Spanish Speakers

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to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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