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The vagaries of “default”

09 Mar

 

There's good default, and there's bad default. What's the difference? They're world's apart.

 

Do you remember when "default" meant that you failed to do something, like pay your bank loan or mortgage — or the U.S. government defaulting on the national debt?

 

Well, I encountered the new definition a few years ago while talking with a computer geek. It seems that "default" means the "standard"…the basic way something is done/computed…default style or font or format, for instance.

 

Holy crap! How can one simple word have such a different meaning?

 

default |diˈfôlt|

noun

failure to fulfill an obligation, esp. to repay a loan or appear in a court of law : it will have to restructure its debts to avoid default.

 

a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer : the default is fifty lines | [as adj. ] default settings.

 

About Grammar Nazi

Marketing specialist focusing on concept development for new products and services. University degree in editorial journalism. Major corporate and brand experience with one of the world's largest and best advertising agencies.
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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