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 Grass lawns are the default for most yards, but some people want other options, like edible or ornamental landscaping, mulch or low-maintenance groundcover. oregonlive, "When it’s time to say goodbye to lawn, uproot it first," 13 July 2020 But my fear coming out of the demo is that the game will assign a default voice to characters spanning different ethnic groups, a flaw that could undercut the game’s core mechanic, and its vision of an authentic, diverse London setting. Elise Favis, Washington Post, "Playing as an elderly woman in ‘Watch Dogs: Legion’ brings thrills, danger and laughs," 12 July 2020 These choices are all levers that can be used to nudge the system away from its default, white male–heavy state. Benjamin Deen, Scientific American, "How to Fix Science's Diversity Problem," 11 July 2020 That said, leggings and bike shorts have achieved default pants status these days, and Lululemon’s athleisure is the stuff of modern-day legend—and so are its warehouse sales. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "The Lululemon Warehouse Sale 2020 Is the Brand’s First Blowout in Three Years," 10 July 2020 That means that as families have had to figure out new child-care arrangements during the pandemic, many women have, by cultural default, spent more time looking after their kids, which affects their ability to work. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Has Already Taken a Toll on Parents’ Careers," 9 July 2020 Tour is the default, Sport is nearly unbearable, and then there's Stealth. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Cadillac CT4 450T Suffers from a Lack of Refinement," 8 July 2020 According to pro-Brexit analysts recently cited by The New York Times, the government could bury the shock of Brexit, which may entail a no-deal default to WTO terms, in the generalized pain of the pandemic. Rachel Shabi, The New York Review of Books, "The Pro-Privatization Shock Therapy of the UK’s Covid Response," 8 July 2020 There are three reasons for such a large disparity in default perceptions across states. Fortune, "To fight the coronavirus budget crisis, act like Alexander Hamilton," 3 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb United States coal companies, already in financial trouble, are more likely to default because of the pandemic, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Vanessa Gera, The Christian Science Monitor, "Polish coal industry battered by virus as global demand plummets," 7 July 2020 Three times as many loans could default and you’d still be protected, because the lower layers would bear the loss. Frank Partnoy, The Atlantic, "The Looming Bank Collapse," 10 June 2020 Without an accord, the U.K. and EU will default to trading on terms set by the World Trade Organization, meaning the return of tariffs and quotas. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Negotiators Home In on Landing Zone Despite Disputes," 5 July 2020 States perceived more likely to default will pay higher interest rates on their debt, making their recovery more arduous. Fortune, "To fight the coronavirus budget crisis, act like Alexander Hamilton," 3 July 2020 But while traditional venture capital firms might default to being cautious, the current circumstances mean impact funders will maintain momentum. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "African venture funding is expected to slow but impact investors are boosting health and agri-tech startups," 26 June 2020 If the two sides fail to agree, Britain will default to trading on terms set by the World Trade Organization, burdening businesses with tariffs and quotas. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "October Is Moment of Truth for U.K. Deal, EU’s Barnier Says," 23 June 2020 The good news is that social trust—the kind that undergirds both an institutional response and a technological one—can be cultivated, as long as responsible authorities keep their promises and refuse to default on their most basic obligations. Gideon Lewis-kraus, Wired, "How to Make Government Trustworthy Again," 18 June 2020 In her bear-case scenario, leverage could remain so high that Tenet would default on major debts that come due in 2022 and beyond. Dallas News, "How to survive the COVID economy? Tenet Healthcare cut jobs, stockpiled cash and PPE, and tapped Uncle Sam big time," 16 June 2020

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

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Default.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/default. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for default

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.

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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