de·fect (dēfĕkt′, dĭ-fĕkt)
An imperfection or lack that causes inadequacy or failure; a shortcoming or deficiency. See Synonyms at blemish.
intr.v. (dĭ-fĕkt) de·fect·ed, de·fect·ing, de·fects
1. To disown allegiance to one's country and take up residence in another: a Soviet citizen who defected to Israel.
2. To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group: defected from the party over the issue of free trade.
[Middle English, from Latin dēfectus, failure, want, from past participle of dēficere, to desert, be wanting : dē-, de- + facere, to do; see dhē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.