1. Failure to perform a task or fulfill an obligation, especially failure to meet a financial obligation: in default on a loan.
2. Law Failure of a party in a case to make a required court appearance.
3. The failure of one or more competitors or teams to participate in a contest: won the championship by default.
a. Computers A particular setting or value for a variable that is assigned automatically by an operating system and remains in effect unless canceled or overridden by the operator: changed the default for the page margins.
b. A situation or condition that is the case in the absence of active intervention.
v. de·fault·ed, de·fault·ing, de·faults
a. To fail to do what is required.
b. To fail to pay money when it is due.
2. Computers To revert to a default.
a. To fail to appear in court as a party to a case when summoned.
b. To lose a case by not appearing.
4. To fail to take part in or complete a scheduled contest.
1. To fail to perform or pay.
2. Law To lose (a case) by failing to appear in court.
3. To fail to take part in or complete (a contest, for example).
in default of
Through the failure, absence, or lack of.
[Middle English defaute, from Old French, from past participle of defaillir, to fail, grow weak : de-, intensive pref.; see DE- + faillir; see FAIL.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus