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

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 During wartime, the most severe punishments for desertion are death and up to life in prison, said Lt. Cmdr. Melissa Chan, NBC News, 19 May 2022 Bowen, despite his earlier desertion (and his criminal record), instead would successfully reenlist in the U.S. Navy during World War I and head to sea. oregonlive, 20 Apr. 2022 In 2016, he was arrested and charged with desertion. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Mar. 2022 Even an outright cancelation would indicate an iota of empathy from Adele’s camp, because at some point, disappointment trumps desertion. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 10 Feb. 2022 Sorrells believes that her grandfather’s grim background—his origins in the post-Confederate South, his time as a child laborer, his act of desertion—shaped his outlook and his politics. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 4 Jan. 2022 Abraham Lincoln's pardon for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 25 Dec. 2021 Ideally, the response to failure is not an utter desertion of newspapers, but a commitment to good journalists and good papers as a counterweight. Anthony Hennen, National Review, 26 Oct. 2021 Syrian laws allow for the death penalty for offenses including terrorism, espionage, treason, arson and army desertion. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 22 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of desertion

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for desertion

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The first known use of desertion was in 1591

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Dictionary Entries Near desertion



desert ironwood

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Statistics for desertion

Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Desertion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on desertion

Nglish: Translation of desertion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of desertion for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about desertion


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