At default

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mutant12, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. mutant12 Member

    Hello everyone,

    I have a problem with the expression "at default' in a book I'm translating ("Hollow Crown" by Dan Jones). It's a historical book on the Wars of the Roses, and the whole sentence goes like this:

    "Henry’s main source of hope lay with the small but swelling community of exiles who fled England following the failure of Buckingham’s rebellion with their lives in danger and their property at default."

    Context: Henry Tudor, who unsuccessfully tried to join Buckingham's rebellion, is now back in exile in Brittany and looking for other options to seize the crown.

    My two guesses are that the property of the rebels either (1) has been seized by the ruling king (Richard III) or (2) is in danger of being seized. Or, (3), it could just mean "left behind". However, looking for "at default" in search engines I mostly find complicated economic explanations, while I suppose here the author meant something quite simple.

    Thanks in advance for help.
  2. Barque Senior Member

    It means the property was liable to be seized.

    A modern equivalent would be the method of treatment of a mortgaged property where the mortgagor defaults in repayment of the loan. The property is then in danger of being attached/forfeited/taken over.
  3. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    I'd said, subject to seizure by the king. Your 1) and 2) are close. If I recall, some seizures did occur.
  4. mutant12 Member

    Barque and bennymix, thank you for the replies! They make sense - since the owners had rebelled against the king, their property was now at his mercy.

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