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

But several opposition politicians have also accused Mr. Maassen of de facto downplaying unacceptable behavior and he was summoned to explain himself in front of parliament’s intelligence committee this week. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "Germany’s Merkel Condemns Anti-Immigration Protests," 12 Sep. 2018 Chas’s floor is a de facto business center, complete with a desk, file cabinets, and a clunky computer. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Channel Margot Tenenbaum With the New Scalamandré x The Inside Collaboration," 19 Feb. 2019 Squirrel Hill, Tree of Life’s neighborhood, is considered the de facto center of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, according to a Brandeis University report; the synagogue represented a powerful symbol of Jewish life. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "An assailant killed at least 11 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.," 27 Oct. 2018 Whatever else these creatures are, or once were, the beings became my de facto tutors. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Hollow Knight beats Metroid, Dark Souls at their own brutal game," 28 July 2018 In The Society, Kathryn stars as Allie, the de facto leader of the group. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Netflix's Newest Teen Drama "The Society"," 4 Apr. 2019 Would someone please explain de jure versus de facto discrimination to the 71-year old Letterman? Nell Scovell, The Cut, "David Letterman Just Can’t Figure Out Why He Never Had Women Writers," 14 May 2018 Built in 1934 in the historic Miracle Mile North neighborhood, Andrews’s home is his de facto design retreat, where every detail speaks to his soul. Kathryn O’shea-evans, House Beautiful, "How Celeb-Favorite Designer Jeff Andrews Created His Own Glamorous L.A. Haven," 14 Feb. 2019 New Jersey is rare among the states: Its courts have declared even de facto school segregation unconstitutional since the 1960s. Sharon Otterman, New York Times, "New Jersey Law Codifies School Segregation, Suit Says," 17 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.

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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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