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

Investors are now asking whether OPEC—de facto led by Saudi Arabia—still has the power to rebalance an oversupplied oil market and boost prices that have fallen by more than 30% since hitting four-year highs in October. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Oil Slides After OPEC Delays Decision on Level of Output Cuts," 6 Dec. 2018 If Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, agrees to such a plan (Trump has been pressuring it not to), that would likely boost prices. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Now that the stock market is down, Trump wants to take credit for oil prices," 27 Nov. 2018 The event calendar is one piece of the company’s new vision for its stores to act as de facto town squares. Andrew Zaleski, Curbed, "Can Apple stores be public spaces?," 3 Oct. 2018 With the AirPod, everyone might become a de facto secret agent, people or machines mouthing additional information into the ear directly, unnoticed. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Apple's Airpods Are an Omen," 12 June 2018 The American Institute in Taiwan, as the de facto US embassy in Taipei is called, was officially declared open Tuesday morning, in a ceremony attended by senior US diplomats and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. Steven Jiang, CNN, "Washington opens de facto embassy in Taiwan, angering China," 12 June 2018 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

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

having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!