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From Middle French defaicte, from Latin defectus (a failure, lack), from deficere (to fail, lack, literally 'undo'), from past participle defectus, from de- (priv.) + facere (to do).


  • (noun) enPR: dē'fĕkt, IPA(key): /ˈdiːfɛkt/
    • (file)
  • (verb) enPR: dĭfĕkt', IPA(key): /dɪˈfɛkt/


defect (plural defects)

  1. A fault or malfunction.
    a defect in the ear or eye; a defect in timber or iron; a defect of memory or judgment
    • 1856 February, [Thomas Babington] Macaulay, “Oliver Goldsmith [from the Encyclopædia Britannica]”, in T[homas] F[lower] E[llis], editor, The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, new edition, London: Longman, Green, Reader, & Dyer, published 1871, OCLC 30956848:
      Among boys little tenderness is shown to personal defects.
    • 2014 October 21, Brown, Oliver, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      But ever since the concept of "hamartia" recurred through Aristotle's Poetics, in an attempt to describe man's ingrained iniquity, our impulse has been to identify a telling defect in those brought suddenly and dramatically low.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[2], page 4:
      Another major defect of the current literature dealing with the nomenclature of hybrid forms of English is the scant attention paid to the question of frequency.
  2. The quantity or amount by which anything falls short.
  3. (mathematics) A part by which a figure or quantity is wanting or deficient.

Usage notesEdit

  • Adjectives often used with "defect": major, minor, serious, cosmetic, functional, critical, fatal, basic, fundamental, main, primary, principal, radical, inherent


Related termsEdit



defect (third-person singular simple present defects, present participle defecting, simple past and past participle defected)

  1. (intransitive) To abandon or turn against; to cease or change one's loyalty, especially from a military organisation or political party.
    • 2013 May 23, Sarah Lyall, "British Leader’s Liberal Turn Sets Off a Rebellion in His Party," New York Times (retrieved 29 May 2013):
      Capitalizing on the restive mood, Mr. Farage, the U.K. Independence Party leader, took out an advertisement in The Daily Telegraph this week inviting unhappy Tories to defect. In it Mr. Farage sniped that the Cameron government — made up disproportionately of career politicians who graduated from Eton and Oxbridge — was “run by a bunch of college kids, none of whom have ever had a proper job in their lives.”
  2. (military) To desert one's army, to flee from combat.
  3. (military) To join the enemy army.
  4. (law) To flee one's country and seek asylum.
    • 2015 August 15, Choe Sang-Hun, “A North Korean Defector’s Regret”, in The New York Times[3], retrieved 20 September 2015:
      Passing through Thailand, she submitted a handwritten statement agreeing to defect, a requirement for North Korean refugees to be allowed to enter the South.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit



Borrowed from Latin dēfectus, dēfectum.



defect (comparative defecter, superlative defectst)

  1. broken, not working


Inflection of defect
uninflected defect
inflected defecte
comparative defecter
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial defect defecter het defectst
het defectste
indefinite m./f. sing. defecte defectere defectste
n. sing. defect defecter defectste
plural defecte defectere defectste
definite defecte defectere defectste
partitive defects defecters



  • Petjo: defèk


defect n (plural defecten, diminutive defectje n)

  1. A defect.