1

de facto

adverb de fac·to \ di-ˈfak-(ˌ)tō , dā- , dē- \
Updated on: 23 Nov 2017

Definition of de facto

: in reality : actually
  • became the leader de facto

Origin and Etymology of de facto

Medieval Latin, literally, from the fact


2

de facto

adjective

Definition of de facto

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

Examples of de facto in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of de facto from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of de facto


Law Dictionary

1

de facto

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

legal Definition of de facto

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

Origin and Etymology of de facto

Medieval Latin, literally, from the fact


2

de facto

adjective

legal Definition of de facto

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


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