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[dih-fek-shuh n] /dɪˈfɛk ʃən/
desertion from allegiance, loyalty, duty, or the like; apostasy:
His defection to East Germany was regarded as treasonable.
failure; lack; loss:
He was overcome by a sudden defection of courage.
Origin of defection
1535-45; < Latin dēfectiōn- (stem of dēfectiō), equivalent to dēfect(us) (see defect) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nondefection, noun
redefection, noun
1. loyalty. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for defection
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Who would have returned as you have returned to advise me of the defection of my grooms?

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • Not only by defection of our own, but by the force of arms of another.

    Love-at-Arms Raphael Sabatini
  • The defection of his old instructor in wood-lore disturbed him.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • He thought not; indeed, she did not seem to retain any memory of his defection.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • What would make their defection more certain was the irregularity of pay.

    The Siege of Boston Allen French
British Dictionary definitions for defection


the act or an instance of defecting
abandonment of duty, allegiance, principles, etc; backsliding
another word for defect (sense 1), defect (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for defection

1540s, "action of failing;" 1550s, "action of deserting a party, leader, etc." from Latin defectionem (nominative defectio) "desertion, revolt, failure," noun of action from past participle stem of deficere (see deficient). Originally used often of faith.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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