de·​ser·​tion | \ di-ˈzər-shən How to pronounce desertion (audio) \

Definition of desertion

1 : an act of deserting especially : the abandonment without consent or legal justification of a person, post, or relationship and the associated duties and obligations sued for divorce on grounds of desertion
2 : a state of being deserted or forsaken

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Synonyms & Antonyms for desertion



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Examples of desertion in a Sentence

the soldiers were imprisoned for desertion of their posts
Recent Examples on the Web Now Kelley faces charges of unlawful desertion of a child across county lines and child neglect – both third-degree felonies. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, "Florida woman accused of abandoning 3-month-old on doorstep," 21 Nov. 2020 Lake County jail records show Kelley, 33, of Astor was arrested Monday and charged with unlawful desertion of a child and neglect of a child, and bonded out on Tuesday morning. Tiffini Theisen,, "Deputies: Lake County mom rang stranger’s doorbell, pushed her baby boy inside, then left," 17 Nov. 2020 The ninth-century desertion of the cities of Southern Lowland Classic Maya civilization has been ascribed to war, peasant uprisings, deforestation and drought. Ben Ehrenreich, New York Times, "How Do You Know When Society Is About to Fall Apart?," 4 Nov. 2020 Vallow had already been jailed on two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children and three misdemeanor charges. Konstantin Toropin, CNN, "Chad Daybell case can proceed to trial, judge rules," 4 Aug. 2020 Analysts fear a mass desertion next year, led by poor students unable to fully access virtual education. Lucien O. Chauvin, Washington Post, "Remote learning is deepening the divide between rich and poor," 16 Oct. 2020 Daybell was charged with concealing evidence and Vallow is accused of desertion and nonsupport of children. Steve Almasy, CNN, "Cell phone pings from Lori Vallow's late brother led investigators to the bodies of her children," 20 June 2020 Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion in 2017 and was sentenced to a dishonorable discharge without prison time. Washington Examiner, "Biden running mate contender Susan Rice praised Bowe Bergdahl for serving country 'with honor' in 2014," 6 Aug. 2020 Vallow was previously charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children and three misdemeanor charges. Konstantin Toropin, CNN, "Lori Vallow faces more charges after her children's bodies were found," 30 June 2020

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

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for desertion

Time Traveler

The first known use of desertion was in 1591

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Statistics for desertion

Cite this Entry

“Desertion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for desertion



Legal Definition of desertion

: the forsaking of a person, post, or relationship: as
a : permanent withdrawal from living with one's spouse without the spouse's consent and without cause or justification

Note: Desertion is a ground for divorce in many states.

b : intentional permanent termination of custody over one's child also : abandonment
c : abandonment of military duty without leave and without the intent to return

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Comments on desertion

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