DEFINITION of 'Delinquent'

The failure to accomplish what is required by law or duty, such as the failure to make a required payment or to perform a certain action. A delinquent is an individual or corporation with a contractual obligation to make payments against a loan in a timely manner, such as through a mortgage, but payments are not made on time. In the case of a mortgage, the lender can initialize foreclosure proceedings if the mortgage is not brought up to date within a certain amount of time.

BREAKING DOWN 'Delinquent'

The term delinquent commonly refers to a situation where a borrower is late or overdue on a payment, such as income taxes, a mortgage, automobile loan or credit card account. There are consequences for being delinquent, depending on the type, duration and cause of the delinquency. People who are late with a credit card payment may be forced to pay a late fee. Delinquent also refers to the failure to perform a duty or act in a manner expected of a person in a particular profession or situation. For example, a police officer who does not act in a manner to fulfill his or her duty to protect could be found delinquent.

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