de facto

adverb
de fac·​to | \ di-ˈfak-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce de facto (audio) , 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

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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

Before Donald Trump assumed the presidency, questions were asked about whether his daughter — a former socialite, real estate developer and fashion entrepreneur — would serve as de facto first lady. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Did President Trump confuse wife Melania with daughter Ivanka in comments about Kim Jong Un?," 27 Aug. 2019 Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee? Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Biden at campaign stop: What if Obama had been assassinated?," 23 Aug. 2019 This Burger King serves as Kayenta’s de facto meeting place, and honors the Code Talkers with displays and artifacts brought back from the war by local residents that detail and honor their service. Steve Larese, National Geographic, "Eight epic stops in the Four Corners region," 27 June 2019 Auburn is the de facto home team, and will bat second. Sam Blum | Sblum@al.com, al.com, "College World Series updates: Auburn vs. Louisville," 18 June 2019 Since launching his own firm, Reid had been working out of his apartment, which meant that the dining room was essentially his de facto office. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "A Breakup Inspired This Greenwich Village Apartment Makeover," 18 July 2019 During his trip, bin Salman -- the de facto ruler of the kingdom that has long seen itself as being at the vanguard of the Muslim world -- appeared to publicly defend his hosts over their treatment of the Uyghurs. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Muslim nations are defending China as it cracks down on Muslims, shattering any myths of Islamic solidarity," 17 July 2019 Those pocket-sized gadgets undermined sales of PCs, where Intel had a de facto monopoly. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Intel's New Chip Wizard Has a Plan to Bring Back the Magic," 3 July 2019 It is believed to have been purchased on behalf of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Dana Jacobson, CBS News, "Is "Salvator Mundi" a real Leonardo da Vinci painting?," 22 June 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for de facto

The first known use of de facto was in 1601

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More Definitions for de facto

de facto

adverb
de fac·​to | \ di-ˈfak-tō, dā-, dē- How to pronounce de facto (audio) \

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

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