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noun de·fault \di-ˈfȯlt, dē-; ˈdē-ˌfȯlt\

Simple Definition of default

  • : a failure to make a payment (such as a payment on a loan)

  • law : failure to appear in court

  • computers : a setting, option, etc., that a computer uses if you do not choose a different one

Full Definition of default

  1. 1 :  failure to do something required by duty or law :  neglect

  2. 2 archaic :  fault

  3. 3 :  a failure to pay financial debts

  4. 4 a :  failure to appear at the required time in a legal proceeding b :  failure to compete in or to finish an appointed contest <lost the game by default>

  5. 5 a :  a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative <remained the club's president by default> b :  a selection automatically used by a computer program in the absence of a choice made by the user

in default of
  1. :  in the absence of

Examples of default

  1. The defendant has made no appearance in the case and is in default.

  2. You can enter your own settings or use the defaults.

  3. Which font is the default in that computer program?

Origin of default

Middle English defaute, defaulte, from Anglo-French, from defaillir to be lacking, fail, from de- + faillir to fail

First Known Use: 13th century



verb de·fault

Simple Definition of default

  • : to fail to do something that legally must be done; especially : to fail to make the payments you must make on a loan, mortgage, etc.

  • of a computer : to automatically use a particular setting, option, etc., unless you choose a different one

Full Definition of default

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to fail to fulfill a contract, agreement, or duty: as a :  to fail to meet a financial obligation <default on a loan> b :  to fail to appear in court c :  to fail to compete in or to finish an appointed contest; also :  to forfeit a contest by such failure

  3. 2 :  to make a default selection <the program defaults to a standard font>

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1 :  to fail to perform, pay, or make good

  6. 2 a :  forfeit b :  to exclude (a player or a team) from a contest by default

de·fault·er noun

Examples of default

  1. If the borrower defaults, the bank can take the house.

  2. The program defaults to a standard font.

15th Century

First Known Use of default

15th century

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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