default

[dih-fawlt]
See more synonyms for default on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. failure to act; inaction or neglect: They lost their best client by sheer default.
  2. failure to meet financial obligations.
  3. Law. failure to perform an act or obligation legally required, especially to appear in court or to plead at a time assigned.
  4. Sports. failure to arrive in time for, participate in, or complete a scheduled match.
  5. lack; want; absence.
  6. 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.
verb (used without object)
  1. to fail in fulfilling or satisfying an engagement, claim, or obligation.
  2. to fail to meet financial obligations or to account properly for money in one's care: When he defaulted in his payments, the bank foreclosed on the car.
  3. Law. to fail to appear in court.
  4. Sports.
    1. to fail to participate in or complete a match.
    2. to lose a match by default.
verb (used with object)
  1. to fail to perform or pay: to default a debt.
  2. to declare to be in default, especially legally: The judge defaulted the defendant.
  3. Sports.
    1. to fail to compete in (a scheduled game, race, etc.).
    2. to lose by default.
  4. Law. to lose by failure to appear in court.

Origin of default

1175–1225; Middle English defau(l)te < Anglo-French defalte, Old French defaute, derivative of defaillir, after faute, faillir. See de-, fault, fail
Related formsnon·de·fault·ing, adjective, nounpre·de·fault, noun, verbun·de·fault·ed, adjectiveun·de·fault·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for default

default

noun
  1. a failure to act, esp a failure to meet a financial obligation or to appear in a court of law at a time specified
  2. absence or lack
  3. by default in the absence of opposition or a better alternativehe became prime minister by default
  4. in default of through or in the lack or absence of
  5. judgment by default law a judgment in the plaintiff's favour when the defendant fails to plead or to appear
  6. lack, want, or need
  7. (also ˈdiːfɔːlt) computing
    1. the preset selection of an option offered by a system, which will always be followed except when explicitly altered
    2. (as modifier)default setting
verb
  1. (intr; often foll by on or in) to fail to make payment when due
  2. (intr) to fail to fulfil or perform an obligation, engagement, etcto default in a sporting contest
  3. law to lose (a case) by failure to appear in court
  4. (tr) to declare that (someone) is in default

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

Word Origin and History for default
n.

early 13c., "offense, crime, sin," later (late 13c.) "failure, failure to act," from Old French defaute (12c.) "fault, defect, failure, culpability, lack, privation," from Vulgar Latin *defallita "a deficiency or failure," past participle of *defallere, from Latin de- "away" (see de-) + fallere "to deceive, to cheat; to put wrong, to lead astray, cause to be mistaken; to escape notice of, be concealed from" (see fail (v.)). The financial sense is first recorded 1858; the computing sense is from 1966.

v.

late 14c., "be lacking, be missing," also "become weak," from default (n.). Related: Defaulted; defaulting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

default in Culture

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

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.