The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Default \De*fault"\, n. [OE. defaute, OF. defaute, defalte,
fem., F. d['e]faut, masc., LL. defalta, fr. a verb meaning,
to be deficient, to want, fail, fr. L. de- + fallere to
deceive. See Fault.]
1. A failing or failure; omission of that which ought to be
done; neglect to do what duty or law requires; as, this
evil has happened through the governor's default.
2. Fault; offense; ill deed; wrong act; failure in virtue or
And pardon craved for his so rash default.
Regardless of our merit or default. --Pope.
3. (Law) A neglect of, or failure to take, some step
necessary to secure the benefit of law, as a failure to
appear in court at a day assigned, especially of the
defendant in a suit when called to make answer; also of
jurors, witnesses, etc.
In default of, in case of failure or lack of.
Cooks could make artificial birds and fishes in
default of the real ones. --Arbuthnot.
To suffer a default (Law), to permit an action to be called
without appearing to answer.