[ dih-fawlt, dee-fawlt ]
/ dɪˈfɔlt, ˈdiˌfɔlt /


verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)



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Idioms for default

    in default of, for lack or want of; in the absence of: In default of male heirs, his daughters inherited his property.

Origin of default

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English defau(l)te, from Anglo-French defalte, Old French defaute, derivative of defaillir, after faute, faillir. See de-, fault, fail


non·de·fault·ing, adjective, nounpre·de·fault, noun, verbun·de·fault·ed, adjectiveun·de·fault·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does default mean in finance?

Default is the failure to meet one’s financial obligations, for example, when a borrower misses or stops making monthly loan payments. Default on a loan can make it difficult to get loans in the future and may have other serious consequences.

If a person defaults on a home mortgage, the bank may foreclose on the loan and take over ownership of the property, to sell it in order to recoup as much of the unpaid portion of the loan as possible.

The term not only applies to individuals, but also to businesses and governments that cannot pay back their debts.

Default can also mean failure to account properly for money in one’s care.

Examples of default in a sentence

“Borrowers pay interest to lenders to compensate them for the use of borrowed funds, and as a safeguard against the borrower defaulting on the loan.”
—”What Is A Good Interest Rate?” Rocket Loans. Retrieved March 15, 2020.

“You may qualify for some types of credit or loan approvals using a co-signer or someone close to you who guarantees they will be legally responsible for paying back your debt if you default on the loan or cannot make payments.”
—”Bad Credit Is Scary: 5 Quick Strategies To Improve Your Credit Score” Rocket Loans. Retrieved March 15, 2020.

“Residential mortgage default is a complex event triggered by a host of household and socio-economic events. The recent collapse of the subprime market, coupled with the imposing downturn in the housing and broader economic markets has resulted in a rapidly expanding rate of mortgage defaults, many of which end in foreclosure and REO [real estate owned, that is, by the lender].”
—Allen C. Goodman and Brent C. Smith, “Housing Defaults: Theory Works and so Does Policy,” Introduction, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Diane Publishing: 2010.

Other terms connected with the topic of default

What are some terms connected to the topic of default?

Example sentences from the Web for default

British Dictionary definitions for default

/ (dɪˈfɔːlt) /



Word Origin for default

C13: from Old French defaute, from defaillir to fail, from Vulgar Latin dēfallīre (unattested) to be lacking
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.

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.