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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 De·fault n.
 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 wisdom.
    And pardon craved for his so rash default.   --Spenser.
    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.