If something has been abandoned, you can call it derelict. Even if a person has abandoned his responsibilities, you can say that he is derelict in his duties. But don't call a lost child derelict — unless, of course, he has neglected his chores.

As an adjective, derelict describes something that is rundown, neglected, or in deplorable condition, but the word can also mean "negligent in duty." The politician was so busy using his office for personal gain that he was derelict in his duty to the people who voted for him; he hadn't been present at a vote in months. As a noun, a derelict means a homeless person.

Definitions of derelict
  1. noun
    a person without a home, job, or property
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    type of:
    a person who is very poor
  2. noun
    a ship abandoned on the high seas
    synonyms: abandoned ship
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    type of:
    a vessel that carries passengers or freight
  3. adjective
    worn and broken down by hard use
    synonyms: creaky, decrepit, flea-bitten, run-down, woebegone
    affected by wear; damaged by long use
  4. adjective
    in deplorable condition
    synonyms: bedraggled, broken-down, dilapidated, ramshackle, tatterdemalion, tumble-down
    harmed or injured or spoiled
  5. adjective
    failing in what duty requires
    synonyms: delinquent, neglectful, remiss
    characterized by neglect and undue lack of concern
  6. adjective
    forsaken by owner or inhabitants
    synonyms: abandoned, deserted, desolate
    not having inhabitants; not lived in
Word Family
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