the act of deserting or the state of being deserted.
Law. willful abandonment, especially of one's spouse without consent, in violation of legal or moral obligations.
an act of leaving military service or duty without the intention of returning.
Compare AWOL.

1585–95; < Late Latin dēsertiōn- (stem of dēsertiō) < Latin dēsert(us) (see desert1) + -iōn- -ion

predesertion, noun
self-desertion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
desertion (dɪˈzɜːʃən)
1.  the act of deserting or abandoning or the state of being deserted or abandoned
2.  law wilful abandonment, esp of one's spouse or children, without consent and in breach of obligations

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1590s, from Fr. désertion (early 15c.), from L. desertionem, noun of action from deserere (see desert (v.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
And there is also the question of the reaction of the partner to desertion.
With a possible charge of desertion, which carries no statute of limitations.
Desertion of a calumniated friend is an immoral action.
What is certainly the desertion is not a reduced description, a description is
  not a birthday.
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