default

noun
de·​fault | \ di-ˈfȯlt How to pronounce default (audio) , dē-; ˈdē-ˌfȯlt \

Definition of default

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : failure to do something required by duty or law : neglect
2 archaic : fault
3 economics : a failure to pay financial debts was in default on her loan mortgage defaults
4a law : failure to appear at the required time in a legal proceeding The defendant is in default.
b : failure to compete in or to finish an appointed contest lost the game by default
5a : a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative remained the club's president by default the default candidate
b computers : a selection automatically used by a program in the absence of a choice made by the user using the default settings
in default of
: in the absence of

default

verb
defaulted; defaulting; defaults

Definition of default (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to fail to fulfill a contract, agreement, or duty: such as
a : to fail to meet a financial obligation default on a loan
b law : 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
2 computers : to make a selection automatically in the absence of a choice made by the user The program defaults to a standard font.

transitive verb

1 : to fail to perform, pay, or make good default a loan
2a : forfeit defaulted the game
b : to exclude (a player or a team) from a contest by default was defaulted from the tournament

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Other Words from default

Verb

defaulter noun

Examples of default in a Sentence

Noun The defendant has made no appearance in the case and is in default. You can enter your own settings or use the defaults. Which font is the default in that computer program? Verb If the borrower defaults, the bank can take the house. The program defaults to a standard font.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Mozilla introduced Enhanced Tracking Protection a few versions ago and recently made it on by default. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Firefox 72 blocks fingerprinting scripts by default, rethinks notification pop-ups," 7 Jan. 2020 Other studies have similarly found that black borrowers are at greater risk of default than their white counterparts. Hope Yen, The Denver Post, "Fact check: Trump and his so-they-say accusations," 23 Nov. 2019 Lebanon has always paid its debt on time, but the prospect of a first-ever default is not out of the question. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Beirut once billed itself as a glitzy capital. Now its economy faces a painful reckoning," 23 Nov. 2019 That process is meant to reduce mortgage rates by spreading the risk of default and help underserved Americans buy homes. New York Times, "Trump Moves to Send Mortgage Giants Back to Private Sector," 5 Sep. 2019 The deal adds US$320 billion over current spending levels spread across defense and non-defense programs, averting the threat of debt default until after the 2020 election and reducing the threat of another government shutdown. Rebecca U. Thorpe, The Conversation, "One budget line Congress can agree on: Spending billions on the US military," 14 Aug. 2019 The talks have gone on for weeks but took on new urgency as deficit estimates worsened, creating an unacceptable risk of default in early to mid-September. CBS News, "Negotiators have reached agreement on key budget deal elements, Mnuchin says," 18 July 2019 The goal is to take advantage of a default setting that the targets' calendars will automatically add any event and send a notification about it. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Tricky Scam Plants Phishing Links in Your Google Calendar," 17 June 2019 Taxpayers eventually covered the cost of Hall’s default while the developer’s outreach to Wright played a central role in a congressional ethics investigation that toppled him from the speaker's office in 1989. NBC News, "'Wine cave': Inside Buttigieg's high-priced underground fundraiser," 20 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many cameras assign images default names – like DSCN9126.jpg – that aren’t useful for figuring out what the pictures are. Daniel Genkins, The Conversation, "Building a digital archive for decaying paper documents, preserving centuries of records about enslaved people," 6 Jan. 2020 Safe assets exist because people think countries like the US won’t default or inflate away their bonds, but if their debts grow too large then markets may doubt the safety of these assets. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "Supposedly “risk free” assets are looking awfully risky," 29 Dec. 2019 Nationally, there are nearly 50 million student loan borrowers, and about 20% of them have defaulted in some capacity, often at the expense of taxpayers. Dallas Morning News, Twin Cities, "Other voices: We need a better way to finance student loans," 15 Dec. 2019 The analysis showed that 38 percent of black students who began college in 2004 defaulted on their loans within 12 years, as opposed to 12 percent of white students, which researchers attribute in part to differences in family wealth. New York Times, "After a Billionaire’s Pledge, Morehouse Looks to Donors to Reduce Student Debt," 13 Aug. 2019 Billy got paid to fix roofs but soon defaulted on the mortgage for his house on Silver Dollar Road. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.," 15 July 2019 About 1% of all issuers defaulted in the first three quarters of this year, just a little below the global level, according to Fitch, a ratings agency. The Economist, "Bond defaults have soared in China," 28 Nov. 2019 In recent years, the proponents of Modern Monetary Theory, which holds that countries like the United States that control their own currency can’t default on their debt, have been the loudest advocates for dramatically increasing debt spending. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Against Debt Hysteria," 7 Nov. 2019 The developers’ company defaulted on the Mosaic loan in April, the lender claimed. oregonlive, "Lender pulls plug on major Lloyd District redevelopment, demands $36 million," 4 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'default.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of default

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for default

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for default

Time Traveler

The first known use of default was in the 14th century

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Statistics for default

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Default.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/default. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for default

default

noun

Financial Definition of default

What It Is

A default is a violation of a promise to pay debt in agreed amounts at agreed times.

How It Works

Let's assume Company XYZ has a line of credit for $10 million from Bank ABC, and $5 million of that line is outstanding. Company XYZ must make a $25,000 monthly payment on the outstanding debt every month.

Company XYZ is having trouble with the launch of its new product and is dealing with a recall on four of its other products. Sales dropped 75% and cash flow dried up, making it hard to make the debt payments. For a few months, Company XYZ makes late payments, and then after six months it stops making payments altogether. Bank ABC declares Company XYZ in default and demands immediate repayment of the $5 million outstanding principal.

This of course is very hard for Company XYZ to handle, and Bank ABC begins the process of seizing the collateral that secured the debt. Without these assets (let's say they're machinery), Company XYZ cannot continue production and thus closes its doors.

In general, there are six events involved in a default (in this example, we assume the borrower has obtained a mortgage for a house from the lender).

1. The borrower signs a contract agreeing to repay the lender over a period of time, usually in predetermined installments.
2. The borrower misses one or more payments.
3. The lender sends the borrower one or more notices of delinquency.
4. The borrower and the lender try to adjust the repayment schedule so that the borrower is more likely to make at least some of the payments until he or she gets back on his feet. (This process is called special forbearance or mortgage modification.)
5. The borrower still misses payments.
6. The lender sends the borrower a notice of default and initiates foreclosure proceedings.

Why It Matters

Defaults are serious matters, and they are far more serious than simply being overdue in a payment (though this can trigger a lender to declare default). Foreclosure occurs when a lender seizes and sells a borrower's collateral when the borrower has failed to repay the lender. The term is most often associated with real estate.

Defaults do long-term damage to a person's credit report and can hinder a company's ability to raise capital in the future. It is important to note that foreclosure laws vary by state, and they affect the order or duration of these steps. It is also important to note that the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act affects foreclosure proceedings by stipulating the methods lenders can use to go after bad debts.

Default risk is the chance that a bond issuer will not make the required coupon payments or principal repayment to bondholders. Many things can influence an issuer's default risk and in varying degrees. Examples include poor or falling cash flow from operations (which is often needed to make the interest and principal payments), rising interest rates (if the bonds are floating-rate notes, rising interest rates increase the required interest payments), or changes in the nature of the marketplace that would adversely affect the issuer (such as a change in technology, an increase in competitors or regulatory changes). The default risk associated with foreign bonds also includes the home country's sociopolitical situation and the stability and regulatory activity of its government.

Source: Investing Answers

default

noun
How to pronounce default (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of default

 (Entry 1 of 2)

used to describe something that happens or is done when nothing else has been done or can be done usually used in the phrase by default sometimes used before another noun
: a failure to make a payment (such as a payment on a loan)
law : failure to appear in court

default

verb

English Language Learners Definition of default (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

default

noun
de·​fault | \ di-ˈfȯlt How to pronounce default (audio) \

Kids Definition of default

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: failure to do something especially that is required by law or duty If we miss the game, we'll lose by default.

default

verb
defaulted; defaulting

Kids Definition of default (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fail to do something required He defaulted on repaying the money.

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default

noun
de·​fault | \ di-ˈfȯlt, ˈdē-ˌfȯlt How to pronounce default (audio) \

Legal Definition of default

1 : failure to do something required by duty (as under a contract or by law): as
a : failure to comply with the terms of a loan agreement or security agreement especially with regard to payment of the debt
b in the civil law of Louisiana : a delay in performing under a contract that is recognized by the other party

Note: A party whose performance under a contract is delayed is not automatically in default. Rather, the law of Louisiana requires that the other party “put him or her in default” by a written or witnessed oral request for performance, by filing suit, or by invoking a specific provision in the contract. Moratory damages may be recoverable for loss caused by the delay.

2 : failure to defend against a claim in court (as by failing to file pleadings or to appear in court) — see also default judgment at judgment sense 1a
in default
: in the condition of having defaulted

Other Words from default

default verb
defaulter noun

History and Etymology for default

Anglo-French defalte defaute lack, fault, failure to answer a summons, from defaillir to be lacking, fail, from de-, intensive prefix + faillir to fail

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More from Merriam-Webster on default

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for default

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with default

Spanish Central: Translation of default

Nglish: Translation of default for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of default for Arabic Speakers

Comments on default

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