In finance, default is the term used when a party is unwilling or unable to pay their debt obligations. This can occur with all debt obligations including bonds, debentures, mortgages, loans, and notes. Default can also occur with sovereign bonds, that is, governments can default on their payments to creditors. In corporate finance, a default is typically a prelude to bankruptcy. With most loans the total amount owed becomes immediately payable on the first instance of a default of payment.
International Monetary Fund (IMF), "Online glossary of selected financial terms" (as per March 15th, 2008), International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C., 2008