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 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 She was initially jailed on charges of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. NBC News, "Lori Vallow faces new charges after children's remains found on husband's property," 30 June 2020 Chad Daybell, the husband of Lori Vallow, who is charged with desertion in the disappearance of two of her children last year, was taken into custody Tuesday, authorities said. NBC News, "Human remains found in search for two missing Idaho kids; stepfather Chad Daybell taken into custody," 9 June 2020 Vallow faces two felony child desertion charges as well as various misdemeanors. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Vallow believed children were 'zombies,' police used cellphone data to locate remains, document says," 23 June 2020 Vallow was arrested in February in Hawaii on charges of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. NBC News, "'Like gasoline and fire': Former friend speaks out about Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell," 22 June 2020 Vallow is currently awaiting trial for multiple charges, including two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children, according to a criminal complaint filed with an Idaho court. Amir Vera, CNN, "Human remains found in Idaho identified as Lori Vallow's children," 13 June 2020 Vallow is currently on trial for multiple charges related to her children's disappearance, including two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of children. Sarah Midkiff,, "Lori Vallow’s Husband Faces Charges After The Remains Of Two Children Were Found On His Property," 11 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

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Desertion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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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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