failure to act; inaction or neglect: They lost their best client by sheer default.
Finance. failure to meet financial obligations, as when a borrower misses or stops making monthly loan payments: A default on your mortgage can lead to losing the house.
Law. failure to perform an act or obligation legally required, especially to appear in court or to plead at a time assigned: The judge dismissed the suit for default of the defendant.
Sports. failure to arrive in time for, participate in, or complete a scheduled game, race, etc.: So far the Cougars have had three losses, two wins, and one default.
a person’s automatic or standard way of acting or responding; go-to or reflex:Her default is to argue about everything I say, unless she’s in a really good mood.
Computers. a value that a program or operating system assumes, or a course of action that a program or operating system will take, when the user or programmer specifies no overriding value or action.
being a person’s automatic or standard action, response, etc.; go-to: Chocolate is my default choice for ice cream, but when I feel adventurous I’ll go for something more exotic.
Computers. (of a value, action, etc.) preset or preselected, unless the user or programmer gives other input or instruction: The default contrast setting on this display is 50 percent.
to fail to meet financial obligations, such as payments on a loan, or to account properly for money in one's care: After he defaulted twice, the bank foreclosed on the car.
to fail in fulfilling or satisfying an engagement, claim, or obligation: They said they would pick me up, but defaulted at the last minute.
Law. to fail to appear in court: One of the key witnesses defaulted.
to fail to participate in or complete a scheduled game, race, etc.: I only placed in that race because my chief rival defaulted.
to lose a scheduled game, race, etc., by default.
to behave or respond in a certain way automatically, habitually, or by preference (usually followed by to): It seems that in your relationships you default to being a caregiver instead of a partner.
Computers. (of a program or operating system) to assume a preset value or take a preselected action unless otherwise instructed by the user or programmer (usually followed by to): Your profile defaults to public unless you set the permissions to private.
to fail to perform or pay: to default a debt.
to declare to be in default, especially legally: The judge defaulted the defendant.
Law. to lose by failure to appear in court.
to fail to compete in (a scheduled game, race, etc.).
to lose by default.
Idioms about default
in default of, for lack or want of; in the absence of: In default of male heirs, his daughters inherited his property.
- non·de·fault·ing, adjective, noun
- pre·de·fault, noun, verb
- un·de·fault·ed, adjective
- un·de·fault·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use default in a sentence
Wherever possible, work from home should still be the default while we try to contain the virus.I’m a physician and a CEO. Why I won’t bring my employees back to the office before Labor Day 2021 | matthewheimer | August 26, 2020 | Fortune
Elsewhere, mobile browsers including UC Browser, Brave, Opera Mini and Adblock Browser block ads by default.‘The inevitable maturation of the industry’: Desktop ad blocking is past its peak | Lara O'Reilly | August 20, 2020 | Digiday
Rich results are the details that appear in addition to the default blue links and text descriptions.
The only two options were nofollow links or dofollow links, the latter being the default for all hyperlinks.What Google says about nofollow, sponsored, and UGC links in 2020: Does it affect your SEO rankings? | Joseph Dyson | July 24, 2020 | Search Engine Watch
What is less known though, is that Google updated the default segment “Performed Site Search” from “sessions” to “users” not long ago.Eight great tips for internal site search optimization | Marco Bonomo | June 18, 2020 | Search Engine Watch
Are we all so stuck in our roles that when a given issue comes up, we just default to type?
We should expect the default to be civility, not harassment.
The typical trend is for writers and actors to default to the crudest element of what makes their show work, and lean on that.
Out of the box, the device is set to a default statistical mode, but within a week, the monitor gets more accurate.Are We Turning Our Babies Into Real Life Tamagotchis? | Brandy Zadrozny | August 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
There was no threat of default, government shutdown, huge cuts in government spending, or sharp tax increases.
In default of both, I expect to go to jail, and I am ready to start upon one moment's warning.Portrait and Biography of Parson Brownlow, The Tennessee Patriot | William Gannaway Brownlow
In default of the usual bazaars OLeary had returned with the spoils of half a dozen pawn-shops.The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
I hitched the horse to my improvised drag and smoothed it again, several times, in default of a roller.The Idyl of Twin Fires | Walter Prichard Eaton
Before the letters arrived in London, a default had already been recorded.The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 1 of 2 | Egerton Ryerson
He was perpetually giving an account of it to his own soul in default of other listeners.The Tragic Muse | Henry James
British Dictionary definitions for default
a failure to act, esp a failure to meet a financial obligation or to appear in a court of law at a time specified
absence or lack
by default in the absence of opposition or a better alternative: he became prime minister by default
in default of through or in the lack or absence of
judgment by default law a judgment in the plaintiff's favour when the defendant fails to plead or to appear
lack, want, or need
(also ˈdiːfɔːlt) computing
the preset selection of an option offered by a system, which will always be followed except when explicitly altered
(as modifier): default setting
(intr; often foll by on or in) to fail to make payment when due
(intr) to fail to fulfil or perform an obligation, engagement, etc: to default in a sporting contest
law to lose (a case) by failure to appear in court
(tr) to declare that (someone) is in default
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cultural definitions for default
Failure to pay a debt when it is due.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with default
see in default of.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.