from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act or an instance of deserting.
  • noun The state of being deserted.
  • noun Willful abandonment of a spouse or child owed a duty of support.
  • noun The willful, permanent separation of one spouse from the other without acceptable cause or the other's consent, considered as a ground for divorce.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In botany Same as lipoxeny.
  • noun The act of forsaking or abandoning, as a party, a friend, a cause, or the post of duty; the act of quitting without leave, and with an intention not to return.
  • noun The state of being deserted or forsaken.
  • noun The state of being forsaken by God; spiritual despondency.
  • noun In law, a wilful abandonment of an employment or a duty, in violation of a legal or moral obligation. Bigelow, Ch. J.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of deserting or forsaking; abandonment of a service, a cause, a party, a friend, or any post of duty; the quitting of one's duties willfully and without right; esp., an absconding from military or naval service.
  • noun The state of being forsaken; desolation.
  • noun Abandonment by God; spiritual despondency.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The act of deserting.

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

  • noun withdrawing support or help despite allegiance or responsibility
  • noun the act of giving something up


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Never was the _honour_, the _principles_, the policy of a nation so grossly abused as in the desertion of those men, who are now exposed to _every punishment_ that _desertion_ and _poverty_ can inflict, _because they were not rebels_. "

    The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 2 of 2 From 1620-1816

  • The term desertion is also applied to a cleric's abandonment of his benefice, whether it be residential or non-residential.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • The reason is plain: he was, so to speak, of two parties, yet of neither: the one could not forgive his early aspirations for liberty, uttered in imperishable verse; the other could not pardon what they called his desertion of their cause, when he saw that England was willing to do, and was doing, justice to Ireland.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 87, January, 1865

  • The captain professed great annoyance and indignation at what he termed the desertion of his ward, and demanded to know when the tutor proposed to return to his duties.

    Roger Ingleton, Minor

  • I confess, I had sometimes, however, the weakness to think the worse of human nature, for what I called the desertion and ingratitude of these my former companions and flatterers; and I could not avoid comparing the neglect and solitude in which I lived in London, where I had lavished my fortune, with the kindness and hospitalities I had received in Dublin, where I lived only when I had no fortune to spend.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 04

  • The idea of desertion is taken up again in the comic version of the television show in Firefly: Those Left Behind.

    Book Review: The Stars My Destination | Heretical Ideas Magazine

  • Meanwhile, not insignificant hordes of sensible Republicans are in desertion mode, appalled by the shenanigans of the mooseburger-eating creationist from Alaska.

    mooseburger-eating creationist news

  • Meanwhile, not insignificant hordes of sensible Republicans are in desertion mode, appalled by the shenanigans of the mooseburger-eating creationist from Alaska.

    17 « October « 2008 « Niqnaq

  • Perhaps the most interesting finding in the exit polls Tuesday was that the base did turn out for Mr. Rove: white evangelicals voted in roughly the same numbers as in 2004, and 71 percent of them voted Republican, hardly a mass desertion from the 78 percent of last time.

    November 2006

  • Occasion for making this explanation and statement frequently arises in desertion cases when the accused, after pleading guilty, testifies or states in effect that throughout his unauthorized absence he had the intention of returning.



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