Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

early 13c., "offense, crime, sin," later (late 13c.) "failure, failure to act," from Old French defaute (12c.) "fault, defect, failure, culpability, lack, privation," from Vulgar Latin *defallita "a deficiency or failure," past participle of *defallere, from Latin de- "away" (see de-) + fallere "to deceive, to cheat; to put wrong, to lead astray, cause to be mistaken; to escape notice of, be concealed from" (see fail (v.)). The financial sense is first recorded 1858; the computing sense is from 1966.