▸ noun /dɪˈfɔːlt , ˈdiːfɔːlt/
1 [mass noun] failure to fulfil an obligation, especially to repay a loan or appear in a law court:
the company will have to restructure its debts to avoid default
[count noun] the deteriorating economy pushed defaults to almost $20 billion.
2 [in singular] a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer:
the default is fifty lines
[as modifier] default settings.
▪ [usually as modifier] something that is usual or standard:
all my life, envy has been my default emotion
SSRIs have become the default for adults with depression.
▸ verb /dɪˈfɔːlt / [no object]
1 fail to fulfil an obligation, especially to repay a loan or to appear in a law court:
the dealer could repossess the goods if the customer defaulted
some had defaulted on student loans.
▪ [with object] declare (a party) to have defaulted and give judgement against that party:
two semi-finalists were defaulted.
2 (default to) (of a computer program or other mechanism) revert automatically to (a preselected option):
when you start a fresh letter the system will default to its own style.
because of a lack of opposition:
they won the last election by default.
through lack of positive action rather than conscious choice:
he became an actor by default.
go by default Law
(of a case) be decided in favour of one party because of lack of opposition by the other party:
the case against us has gone by default.
guilty of failing to repay a loan or appear in a law court:
the company is already in default on its loans.
in default of
in the absence of:
in default of agreement the rent was to be determined by a surveyor.
– ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French defaut, from defaillir ‘to fail’, based on Latin fallere ‘disappoint, deceive’.