July 22, 2019

“The defection of the dictator’s once loyal and affectionate general made many question the future of the regime.”

Based on the sentence above, which definition most accurately describes defection?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Rising up in the ranks of an organization
Choice B - Being forcefully expelled from a group or organization
Choice C - The act of showing loyalty to a person or a cause
Choice D - The act of abandoning a person or a cause


Defection (noun) – willing abandonment of allegiance to a group, person, or cause

Defect (verb) – to desert or abandon a group, person, or cause

GRE pro tips:

You can remember the word defection by contrasting it with the more common word affection. The word “affection” comes from the Latin affectio, meaning a feeling of “attachment.” (You’ve likely experienced affection yourself.) Defection, on the other hand, comes from the Latin word defectio, meaning “abandonment” – the opposite of attachment. To feel affection means to have love for and attachment to a person or thing. By contrast, defection means detachment and abandonment from a person, group, or cause.

Example sentences:

“The general’s defection made many question the loyalty of Stalin’s regime.”

“The journalist defected to another newspaper.”

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