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in default of (something)
Due to the absence or lack of something; through the failure of something. Though it was only a speeding ticket, Janet was imprisoned in default of paying the fine. In default of concrete evidence, the jury was obligated to acquit the defendant of murder.
default on (something)
To fail to repay a loan on something (which often results in the loss of that thing). If you default on your car loan, your car might get repossessed.
1. Used to describe an outcome that happens because one has not taken any steps to change or prevent it. If you don't start saving money now, while you're young, you'll be working till you're 90 by default.
2. Used to describe a contest that's outcome is determined by a competitor's absence. If the other team can't field enough players, then we'll win by default.
default on something
to fail to act in some way regarding something, such as failing to make a payment, thereby losing one's right to the thing in question. You are not going to default on your loan, are you? She defaulted on her mortgage payments and lost the house.
in default of
Through the failure, absence, or lack of, as in In default of a better solution, we'll have to make do with this one. This term was originally put as for default of, but John Gower had the current wording in Confessio Amantis (1397): "The fish, if it be dry, might in default of water die." [Late 1200s]
1 a game or competition can be won by default if there are no other competitors: The other team didn’t even turn up, so we won by default.
2 if something happens by default, it happens because you have not made any other decision or choices which would make things happen differently: It was never my ambition to get into teaching. I became a teacher more by default than by choice.
in deˈfault of something(formal) because of a lack of something: They accepted what he had said in default of any evidence to disprove it.
in default of
Through the failure, absence, or lack of.