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[Anglo-French defalte defaute lack, fault, failure to answer a summons, from defaillir to be lacking, fail, from de-, intensive prefix + faillir to fail]
1 : failure to do something required by duty (as under a contract or by law): as
a : failure to comply with the terms of a loan agreement or security agreement esp. with regard to payment of the debt
b in the civil law of Louisiana
: a delay in performing under a contract that is recognized by the other party NOTE: A party whose performance under a contract is delayed is not automatically in default. Rather, the law of Louisiana requires that the other party “put him or her in default” by a written or witnessed oral request for performance, by filing suit, or by invoking a specific provision in the contract. Moratory damages may be recoverable for loss caused by the delay.
2 : failure to defend against a claim in court (as by failing to file pleadings or to appear in court) see also default judgment at judgment
: in the condition of having defaulted
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.