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 formsnon·de·fec·tion, nounre·de·fec·tion, noun

Antonyms for defection Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



the act or an instance of defecting
abandonment of duty, allegiance, principles, etc; backsliding
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