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

After her sister is murdered, Allie (Kathryn Newton) becomes the town's de facto leader and creates a plan to maintain order. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Society Season 2: Everything We Know So Far," 9 July 2019 After the owners pushed Fay Vincent out, Selig became the de facto king of baseball in the hours between Robin Yount's 2,999th and 3,000th hits. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In new book, Bud Selig defends work as baseball commissioner, rips Barry Bonds and Al Gore," 3 July 2019 That legal reasoning proved to be a conceptually powerful lever for attacking de facto segregation in the North. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Democratic candidates’ school integration plans, explained," 3 July 2019 Since Dwyane Wade is now retired, is Jimmy Butler the team's new de facto leader who can gel with the team's young core? Dana Scott, azcentral, "NBA free agency: Additions, subtractions, questions while we wait on Kawhi Leonard," 2 July 2019 The Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh quickly said his country would go along with the plan even though Iran is at odds with the United States and de facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia over sanctions and Iran's falling oil supplies. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "OPEC+ agrees to extend oil output cuts for nine months," 1 July 2019 While basketball is a team game, Mr. Russell was the, hmmm, er, center of those teams and thus its de facto leader. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: The Downside of Media Training for Young Players," 26 June 2019 Still others wore nothing but hand-me-down clothes and had to step up as de facto parents for younger siblings. cincinnati.com, "From the Editor: Until you experience it, it's hard to comprehend the hidden costs of being poor," 13 June 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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Comments on de facto

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