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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In other words, private browsing mode is the default. David Nield, WIRED, "It's Time to Switch to a Privacy Browser," 16 June 2019 Trey Mancini, the Orioles’ All-Star favorite by deservedness and default, hit one in the bottom of the first. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, "Red Sox hit six homers, blast Orioles, 13-2, to open series," 14 June 2019 So this was the famous Tree, the default meeting place and schmoozing ground. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 The default rate on CUSO loans is projected to exceed 90%, according to the release, and those defaulted loans continue to affect former students' credit scores. Kyra Haas, azcentral, "Former ITT Tech students in Arizona will get nearly $4M in debt relief," 14 June 2019 But tackling adversity has been their default mode all season. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Gloria! Blues Turn Lost Season Into Long-Awaited Stanley Cup Title," 13 June 2019 Boyko said attorneys for the workers must file applications for default against Johnson and Jamison by June 19. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Buckeye-Shaker group agrees to settlement with unpaid workers; Cleveland Councilman Ken Johnson never responded to suit," 13 June 2019 No-deal is the default option in the absence of other action before October 31st. The Economist, "Tory candidates are misleading people about a no-deal Brexit," 13 June 2019 At that point, in December 2017, an unpaid $4,351 property tax bill led to the default. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When the borrowers defaulted, the company profited off the loans ⁠— and cost the government millions, the complaint said. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Quicken Loans settles with Federal Housing Authority in fraudulent lending case," 14 June 2019 As of March, Ashkenazy was in danger of defaulting on tens of millions in loans for the two properties. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "Judge takes Baltimore's Harborplace out of owner's control, paving way for possible sale," 3 June 2019 But many linguists have defaulted to skepticism, out of a broader concern about tracing differences in languages back to differences in biology—a line of thinking within the field that has led to ethnocentrism or worse. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "A change in our diets may have changed the way we speak," 14 Mar. 2019 When the Saudi company defaulted in 2009, its creditors scrambled to recoup billions in losses. The Economist, "A judge blames many parties in the Gulf’s biggest-ever corporate scandal," 9 June 2018 Before the end of the decade, Schneider had defaulted on a $90,000 loan, which sent control of his brewery to Eberhard Anheuser, a German immigrant and prosperous soap manufacturer. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "How Goose Island sale to Anheuser-Busch changed craft beer; new book by Tribune beer writer Josh Noel," 9 May 2018 Sometimes, that means defaulting away from fairness. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "On Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, shamed baseball prospect Luke Heimlich, and second chances," 7 June 2018 The company, now in bankruptcy, is accused of defaulting on its contractual obligations, cancelling spring tours for about 5,600 students in at least nine Ohio counties. James Ewinger, cleveland.com, "Trade group drops Discovery Tours for ethics violations," 14 May 2018 More recently, Cohen and his father-in-law lent more than $25 million to a Ukrainian businessman who has a checkered financial record and a history of defaulting on loans. William K. Rashbaum And Danny Hakim, BostonGlobe.com, "How Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen built a shadowy business empire," 5 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about default

Dictionary Entries near default

defang

defassa

defat

default

defaunate

DEFCON

defeasance

Statistics for default

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for default

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up default? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!