Definition of by default in English:

by default


  • 1Because of a lack of opposition.

    ‘they won the last election by default’
    • ‘The movement was partially empowered by default of serious opposition.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Through 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.’
      • ‘He got the job by default when the first choice dropped out, and even then it was only through the intervention of someone important.’
      • ‘Which leaves a rather surprised looking Laura sitting at the top of my heap, by default rather than on account of any particular merit.’
      • ‘I wouldn't call her a feminist, except by default because for her it wasn't a conscious stance.’
      • ‘However, I am not wrong in stating that we lack this capability by default - not by conscious strategy.’
      • ‘It becomes a study in the corruption of friendship, by default, since it doesn't function well as a mystery thriller.’
      • ‘Not to choose and not to care is to conform by default - which is the most insidious choice of all, and self-defeating.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A judge has ruled hacking is legal by default in Argentina because of a lack of applicable computer crime laws.’
      • ‘So those friends who are just always around each other could be friends almost by default, perhaps.’
      failure to act, failure to appear, inaction, omission, lapse, lack, exclusion, neglect, negligence, disregard
      View synonyms