default

noun
de·​fault | \ di-ˈfȯlt , 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

That can be a critical mistake, experts say, because delinquency can lead to default. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "The Biggest Mistakes With Student-Loan Repayments," 7 Oct. 2018 When English is the default at an award show like the Golden Globes, breaking that mold is something to pay close attention to. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "The Importance of Sandra Oh Thanking Her Parents in Korean at the Golden Globes 2019," 7 Jan. 2019 Since babies are born with their foreskins intact, uncircumcised penises are actually the biological default. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "11 Things Everyone Should Know About Uncircumcised Penises," 29 Dec. 2018 Starting in August, the default Smartwater order on Amazon Dash — a service that lets customers automatically reorder certain products — changed from a six-pack that cost $6.99 to a $37.20 24-pack, raising the price per bottle from $1.17 to $1.55. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is asking brands to change the way their products are packaged — and some are doing it," 17 Dec. 2018 The default is to zip your legs together and stand at attention, but that results in a kind of mono-thigh—try some two-visible-legs tricks instead. Elizabeth Holmes, Marie Claire, "What Do I Do With My Hands In Photos? And Other Important Questions, Answered," 12 Dec. 2018 That compares with default rate of around 5 percent during the financial crisis in 2008. Adam Tempkin, BostonGlobe.com, "Consumers skip more high-rate auto payments than during crisis," 14 May 2018 The computer system assigned a default discount rate to every Nike customer, typically between three and seven percent, depending on the customer's size and standing, according to federal prosecutors. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Fired Nike executive pleads guilty to wire fraud," 1 May 2018 Here’s how Grand Central might look, with lots and lots of DERs feeding energy and services directly into wholesale markets from down at the grid edge: This is more or less where the system is heading by default, unless something big changes. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

According to Google, 76 percent of all Chrome traffic on Android and Windows is encrypted, and 83 of the top 100 sites on the web defaulted to HTTPS. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "What Chrome's 'Not secure' warning for unencrypted HTTP websites means," 24 July 2018 The Village Board should notify the developer of Riverwalk on the Falls that it's defaulted on the public financing agreement, said Ald. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Menomonee Falls should change financing for upscale apartment project, alderman says," 13 Mar. 2018 The United States almost defaulted on its debts, which would have plunged the entire world economy into a financial crisis and destroyed hundreds of billions if not trillions in wealth and caused needless human misery. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Trump has eroded important democratic institutions. Will Democratic wins change that?," 8 Nov. 2018 In that case, supervision of the Mueller probe would default to Solicitor General Noel Francisco if Trump did not appoint a different acting attorney general. Matt Zapotosky, The Seattle Times, "With the midterms over, special counsel Mueller faces key decisions in Russia investigation," 7 Nov. 2018 And when students began defaulting en masse around 2011, all investors could rely on was the company's word, according to the SEC complaint. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, chicagotribune.com, "ITT's top executives settle fraud charges with SEC," 9 July 2018 The company is defaulting on billions of dollars in debt and is mired in corruption probes in the U.S. and Europe that Caracas has dismissed as Western attempts to destabilize the country. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "David Boies’s Risky Next Act," 7 Dec. 2018 The crippling financial burden has caused millions to default on their loans, and many more to delay starting families or purchasing homes. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Michael Bloomberg Is Donating $1.8 Billion to Fund Scholarships at Johns Hopkins," 19 Nov. 2018 Instead of making their monthly payments, these people defaulted on their mortgages. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "10 years after the financial crisis, is the housing market still at risk?," 29 Aug. 2018

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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Learn More about default

Dictionary Entries near default

defang

defassa

defat

default

defaunate

DEFCON

defeasance

Statistics for default

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for default

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

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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

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 \

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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with default

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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