Something like "Any task not volunteered for will become John's responsibility".

Edit for clarification: Any task left incomplete will be ______ to John.

  • 4
    The word you use in your title works fine: Any task not volunteered for will default to John or possibly Any task not volunteered for will be John's by default. If that doesn't work for you, please edit your question to include a blank in your example question where you want the word to go, and also describe any words you've considered and why they don't work (including default). That will help us pinpoint what you want. – 1006a May 10 '17 at 14:16
  • @1006a +1 "default to" is precisely what I thought as I read his example sentence (though, as you note, it should be "will default to", without "be") – AleksandrH May 10 '17 at 16:09
  • @1006a Is it relevant that the title of the question uses the word 'default'? – Chaim May 10 '17 at 18:55
  • @Chaim One of the requirements for asking a question is showing your research, so if an asker has already considered and dismissed an obvious answer it's important for the asker to explain that process in the text of the question. When the obvious answer is in the question title or body, it's much more likely that it has been considered and dismissed. Thus my request that MickB "describe any words you've considered and why they don't work (including default)." – 1006a May 10 '17 at 18:59
  • It sounds like you're looking for a word that indicates the task will automatically become John's problem -- in which case assigned wouldn't necessarily apply, since it implies action. Left (as suggested by @Evan) might be the best option, if default doesn't do it for you. – Roger Sinasohn May 10 '17 at 19:21

"Left" works in your example sentence:

Any task left incomplete will be left to John.

Using this definition from MW:

to permit to be or remain subject to another's action or control

"Default," as suggested by 1006a is perhaps even better, but doesn't fit in your example sentence as written.


Consider routed.

Any task left incomplete will be routed to John.


route VERB

[with object and adverbial of direction] Send or direct along a specified course.

‘The remaining 9,000 shares would be routed to whichever markets offer the second-best price - and so on until the order is filled.’


I think the title and the descriptive sentence for use would imply different things.

"[What's] a word that describes a default responsibility for a given task?"

To me this would refer to a person or function's core responsibilities. That no matter what else is completed, this is the "default", bare minimum that should be accomplished.

"Any task left incomplete will be ______ to John.".

This sentence though implies that there were tasks that were more or less left over and they too should be completed, and as users noted, would be routed or defaulted elsewhere.

So, the question should be either:

What's a term for tasks that would be handled by default barring completion by another?


What's a term for tasks that are an essential function or responsibility?

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