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default

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. judgment by default Law a judgment in the plaintiff's favour when the defendant fails to plead or to appear
3. Computing
a. the preset selection of an option offered by a system, which will always be followed except when explicitly altered
b. (as modifier): default setting
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

default

[di′fȯlt]
(computer science)
A value automatically used or an action automatically carried out unless another is specified.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

default

A substantive failure to fulfill a material obligation under a building contract.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

default

The pre-set value or action taken by software. Application programs have many defaults, including margin settings, font style, the printer that should be used and the folder name for saving files. Although pre-determined by the vendor, a default setting can be changed by the user (see settings).

Because a particular setting may affect how the hardware operates, there are also "hardware defaults." However, unless there are physical switches or levers on the equipment, the hardware default setting is configured in the software.

Default is also a verb. For example, "the program defaults to xyz," means that the program does xyz unless directed otherwise. See default browser, default folder, default drive, default font and default gateway.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Then the law might provide that only very socially liberal people who score low on Authoritarianism- Traditionalism scales will be presumed to be organ donors by default, and the rest will be deemed nondonors.
Recall that preferences may be constructed by default rules, rather than antedating them.
As an example consider the default theory, due to Poole, which says that, by default, a robot's arm (say a or b) is usable unless it is broken; further, we know that either a or b is broken.