Definition of by default in US English:

by default


  • 1Because of a lack of opposition.

    ‘they won the last election by default’
    • ‘Perhaps they will be re-elected in the next elections by default, with no-one having voted!’
    • ‘Efforts to support an uprising around a weak opposition fail and strengthen him by default.’
    • ‘The opposite, by default, must then be the definition of an anti-politician.’
    • ‘The movement was partially empowered by default of serious opposition.’
    1. 1.1 Through lack of positive action rather than conscious choice.
      ‘legislation dies by default if the governor fails to act on it’
      • ‘If he is on the altcountry shelves then it is by default rather than design.’
      • ‘However, I am not wrong in stating that we lack this capability by default - not by conscious strategy.’
      • ‘A judge has ruled hacking is legal by default in Argentina because of a lack of applicable computer crime laws.’
      • ‘He got the job by default when the first choice dropped out, and even then it was only through the intervention of someone important.’
      • ‘I wouldn't call her a feminist, except by default because for her it wasn't a conscious stance.’
      • ‘Not to choose and not to care is to conform by default - which is the most insidious choice of all, and self-defeating.’
      • ‘So those friends who are just always around each other could be friends almost by default, perhaps.’
      • ‘Which leaves a rather surprised looking Laura sitting at the top of my heap, by default rather than on account of any particular merit.’
      • ‘It becomes a study in the corruption of friendship, by default, since it doesn't function well as a mystery thriller.’
      • ‘The time slot is probably more by default rather than design but it is quite apt that it should be shown at that time of the morning.’
      failure to act, failure to appear, inaction, omission, lapse, lack, exclusion, neglect, negligence, disregard
      View synonyms