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 Bears are finding new reasons to bristle at soaring price-to-earnings ratios, while vanishing credit premiums belie default risk in the grip of the economic downturn. Cormac Mullen, Fortune, "‘Everything is expensive’ rally drives stocks to record valuations," 23 June 2020 Only about 1 in 9 of us use that hand, but my research on primates has found that in bonobos and chimps, the split is more even: About 1 in 3 default left. Popular Science, "Lefties aren’t as weird as you might think," 23 June 2020 The default Sport mode is a little sluggish on throttle response, but one click up into Sport Plus is perfect for vigorous street driving. Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, "2020 Aston Martin Vantage Coupe Is More Than Just a Beauty, It's an All-Around Charmer," 23 June 2020 By default, this behavior protects white people’s positions of power. John Rice, The Atlantic, "The Difference Between First-Degree Racism and Third-Degree Racism," 21 June 2020 In other words, coffee becomes the top source of antioxidants by default. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health.com, "6 Health Benefits of Coffee, According to a Nutritionist," 18 June 2020 Critics in privacy and human rights circles said the Zoom plans threatened to make privacy a premium feature rather than something that’s available by default. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Amid pressure, Zoom will end-to-end encrypt all calls, free or paid," 17 June 2020 And now, University of California officials have announced their intention to make a deal with Springer Nature, the world’s second-largest publisher, to begin publishing the university system’s research as open-access by default. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research," 16 June 2020 The latter, by default, swaps the scroll style between a smooth, fast scroll and slower line-by-line ratchet scrolling. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "The best ergonomic mouse of 2020," 10 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 But the most explosive might be the suggestion floated by some right-wing lawmakers and commentators that the country could choose to default on some of the nearly $1.1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds held by China. NBC News, "Should the U.S. refuse to pay back its $1 trillion debt to China?," 11 June 2020 Back then, the underlying loans were risky too, and everyone knew that some of them would default. Frank Partnoy, The Atlantic, "The Looming Bank Collapse," 10 June 2020 Meanwhile, Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia have banned utility shut-offs for tenants defaulting on payment during the pandemic, and in Peru low-income homes were told they could postpone payment of utility bills. The Christian Science Monitor, "How Latin American slums are leading the fight against COVID-19," 26 May 2020 But since late 2019, Lebanon’s economic woes has seen the Lebanese pound lose half of its original value, while the country eventually defaulted on its external debts. Zecharias Zelalem, Quartz Africa, "Thousands of Ethiopian domestic workers are stranded in Lebanon by the coronavirus crisis," 21 May 2020 That has put some of the largest chains at risk of defaulting on the debt that has piled up over a recent period of acquisitions and renovations. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Not Playing at a Theater Near You," 4 Apr. 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

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Default.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/default. Accessed 4 Jul. 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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