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

In June, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that cellphone carriers may block nuisance calls by default, rather than requiring consumers to opt in to blocking services. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Are we finally starting to win the battle against annoying robocalls?," 11 July 2019 Over time, such a position has become the game's default, at least until recently. Nick Friend, CNN, "Tracey Neville: 'I'd like us to get to the point where it's called sport and not women's sport,' says netball coach," 10 July 2019 When an art buyer borrows money from Sotheby’s to buy something and defaults, that’s public information. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Museum Happenings: Protesters Stage a Die-In in NYC, and Students Accuse Staff of Racism in Boston," 25 June 2019 If Kylie was like a sister to Woods, then Kris was, by default, like a second mom. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "Keeping Up With The Kardashians' Finale Part One Shows The Jordyn-Tristan Scandal In Real Time," 25 June 2019 The average person responds to danger instinctually: Fight or flight is our evolutionary default, backed by adrenaline, which increases blood flow in the body and brain. oregonlive.com, "He’ll go down in history as a coward, but is he a criminal?," 16 June 2019 At the end – a move out, death or default – the bank calls the loan due, to be paid back either by the sale of the home or an heir or homeowner repaying the loan money. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 Importantly, most of these settings (and, of course, the add-on apps) are not the default, which means the majority of people won’t use them. Rani Molla, Vox, "If Slack is so good, why are so many companies trying to fix it?," 24 June 2019 Considering England want to play out from the back and make use of a pivot in midfield, whether that be Kiera Walsh or Jade Moore, there is an automatic default that means pressure will be invited onto the centre backs. SI.com, "An Ode to Ellen White: Why You Should Fall in Love With England’s Number 18," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The calendar link on the site now defaults to a current 2019 schedule. Laura Strickler, NBC News, "Harvard science professors kept meeting with donor Jeffrey Epstein despite his sex offender status," 12 July 2019 As the Brookings report detailed, almost half of all students who enrolled at a for-profit school in 2004 defaulted within 12 years. Robert Gebelhoff, Twin Cities, "Robert Gebelhoff: Yes, I want to pay off my student loans," 30 June 2019 But most still defaulted to a morality argument against Trump, which is unlikely to be enough in the coming months. Time Staff, Time, "10 Things We Learned About 2020 From the Democratic Debates," 28 June 2019 At all three, Terry and Jacquelyn Chan defaulted on rent payments, according to Orange Circuit court lawsuits and attorneys representing the restaurant’s landlords. Caroline Glenn, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando restaurateurs stole investments from green card hopefuls, lawsuits contend," 28 June 2019 As the Brookings report detailed, almost half of all students who enrolled at a for-profit school in 2004 defaulted within 12 years. Robert Gebelhoff, The Denver Post, "Commentary: Yes, I want to pay off my student loans, but these relief plans aren’t serious," 26 June 2019 Without other action, a vote would default to November 2020. Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Oregon Republicans not making clear whether they’ll return to Salem, what they want to get them back," 26 June 2019 But the company defaulted on its $76 million mortgage. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "Reimagining Harborplace: What do people want from Baltimore's iconic waterfront?," 26 June 2019 At worst, the United States could default on its debt, potentially triggering an economic crash. Brendan Buck For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Congress should eliminate the debt limit," 19 June 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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Learn More about default

Dictionary Entries near default

defang

defassa

defat

default

defaunate

DEFCON

defeasance

Statistics for default

Last Updated

17 Jul 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 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

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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