de facto

adverb
de fac·​to | \di-ˈfak-(ˌ)tō, dā-, dē-\

Definition of de facto 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: in reality : actually became the leader de facto

de facto

adjective

Definition of de facto (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : actual especially : being such in effect though not formally recognized a de facto state of war Whatever it says on the calendar, Florida has de facto summer. — E. L. Konigsburg has become the movement's de facto spokesperson

2 : exercising power as if legally constituted a de facto government the de facto head of state

3 : resulting from economic or social factors rather than from laws or actions of the state de facto segregation

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of de facto in a Sentence

Adjective

with the death of his father, he became the de facto head of the family

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Long, flowing hair or cascading updos seemed like the de facto move. Lisa Peterson, Glamour, "I Grew Out My Hair for Months Before My Wedding. I Regret It.," 27 Sep. 2018 Newsweek reported that throughout the last several months, Ivanka has been seen at events wearing shoes from her line, which would serve as a de facto endorsement and potentially encourage other people to buy them. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Ivanka Trump’s Brand Was Approved for Another 13 Trademarks in China," 30 May 2018 Ted Schlein, who succeeded Doerr as the de facto head of the firm, said in an interview. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Mary Meeker, the legendary internet analyst, is leaving Kleiner Perkins," 14 Sep. 2018 Last August, Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of Samsung, was sentenced to five years in prison for offering $6.7 million in bribes to Ms. Choi and Ms. Park. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s Ousted President, Gets 24 Years in Prison," 6 Apr. 2018 Indexing is a de facto cut in the capital gains tax, and every capital gains tax cut in modern history has resulted in a rise in capital gains revenue. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Trump Alone Can Cut Taxes," 12 July 2018 Twitch has become the de facto home for competitive play in games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with competitors like Facebook making inroads as well. Eric Van Allen, WIRED, "Live on ESPN: Is Esports Finally Ready for Its Crossover Moment?," 11 July 2018 Serbia is right behind, though, with three points, making this matchup a de facto elimination bout considering that the Swiss face point-less Costa Rica in their simultaneous group finale. Julia Poe, SI.com, "How to Watch Serbia vs Brazil: World Cup Live Stream, TV Channel," 27 June 2018 The murky status put a de facto moratorium on capital punishment while the case made its way through the courts. Gray Rohrer, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Governor candidate Chris King opposes death penalty, supports legal pot," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'de facto.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of de facto

Adverb

1601, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

circa 1689, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for de facto

Adverb

borrowed from Medieval Latin, literally, "from the fact"

Adjective

derivative of de facto entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about de facto

Statistics for de facto

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for de facto

The first known use of de facto was in 1601

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for de facto

de facto

adverb
de fac·​to | \di-ˈfak-tō, dā-, dē- \

Legal Definition of de facto 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: in reality : actually these two constraints have been lifted, one de facto and one de jure— Susan Lee

de facto

adjective

Legal Definition of de facto (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : actual especially : being such in effect though not formally recognized — see also de facto segregation at segregation

2 : exercising power as if legally constituted or authorized a de facto government a de facto judge — compare de jure

History and Etymology for de facto

Adverb

Medieval Latin, literally, from the fact

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on de facto

What made you want to look up de facto? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!