See more synonyms for defection on
  1. desertion from allegiance, loyalty, duty, or the like; apostasy: His defection to East Germany was regarded as treasonable.
  2. 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 formsnon·de·fec·tion, nounre·de·fec·tion, noun

Antonyms for defection Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for defection

Contemporary Examples of defection

Historical Examples of defection

  • 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.


    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.

  • What would make their defection more certain was the irregularity of pay.

British Dictionary definitions for defection


  1. the act or an instance of defecting
  2. abandonment of duty, allegiance, principles, etc; backsliding
  3. another word for defect (def. 1), defect (def. 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

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