2 [transitive]to leave a place so that it is completely empty [= abandon]:
The birds have deserted their nest.
3 [intransitive]PMAto leave the army, navy etc without permission:
Several hundred soldiers have deserted.
4 [transitive]if a feeling, quality, or skill deserts you, you no longer have it, especially at a time when you need it:
Mike's confidence seemed to have deserted him.
WORD FOCUS: army WORD FOCUS: army similar words:armed forces, the military, the services people in the army:soldier, troops, infantry, G.I.AmE old-fashioned, squaddyBritish English to join the army:join up/enlist to leave the army:be discharged, desert (without permission) go A.W.O.L. (without permission) to make people serve in the armed forces:call upBritish English/draftAmerican English the system of making people serve in the armed forces:conscription, military service, the draftAmerican English, national serviceBritish English relating to the armed forces:militaryarmy ➔ See alsoarmy
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.