Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The lack of something necessary or desirable for completion or perfection; a deficiency: a visual defect.
  • n. An imperfection that causes inadequacy or failure; a shortcoming. See Synonyms at blemish.
  • intransitive v. To disown allegiance to one's country and take up residence in another: a Soviet citizen who defected to Israel.
  • intransitive v. To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group: defected from the party over the issue of free trade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fault or malfunction.
  • v. To abandon or turn against; to cease or change one's loyalty.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Want or absence of something necessary for completeness or perfection; deficiency; -- opposed to superfluity.
  • n. Failing; fault; imperfection, whether physical or moral; blemish
  • intransitive v. To fail; to become deficient.
  • intransitive v. to abandon one country or faction, and join another.
  • transitive v. To injure; to damage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be or become deficient; fail.
  • To desert; revolt.
  • To affect injuriously; hurt; impair; spoil.
  • Defective.
  • n. Want or lack of anything; especially, the lack of something which is essential to perfection or completeness; a fault; a blemish; an imperfection: as, a defect in timber; a defect in the organs of hearing or seeing; a defect of memory or judgment.
  • n. Synonyms Deficiency, lack, insufficiency, failure, error, flaw.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. desert (a cause, a country or an army), often in order to join the opposing cause, country, or army
  • n. an imperfection in a bodily system
  • n. an imperfection in an object or machine
  • n. a mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something (especially on a person's body)
  • n. a failing or deficiency

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin dēfectus, failure, want, from past participle of dēficere, to desert, be wanting : dē-, de- + facere, to do; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English defaicte, from Latin defectus ("a failure, lack"), from deficere ("to fail, lack, literally 'undo'"), from past participle defectus, from de- ("priv.") + facere ("to do"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • The defect in the party led him to defect to the other side of the aisle.

    May 16, 2010