de jure

adverb or adjective
de ju·​re | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈju̇r-ē How to pronounce de jure (audio) , (ˌ)dā-ˈyu̇r- How to pronounce de jure (audio) \

Definition of de jure

1 : by right : of right
2 : based on laws or actions of the state de jure segregation

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Did You Know?

Coming straight from Latin, de jure is a term used mostly, but not always, in legal writing. Sometimes it's not enough to have something written into law; if a law isn't enforced, it might as well not exist. And if ordinary citizens are too scared of what would happen to them if they exercised their rights, then they don't really have those rights at all. Unfortunately, many countries have constitutions and laws that sound good but turn out not to have much effect. So de jure is almost always used in contrast to something else; its opposite is de facto.

Examples of de jure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is a very literal introduction to a film about the evils of de facto and de jure oppression of Black people in America that’s crafted as a high-concept nightmare. Lindsey Bahr,, "‘Antebellum’ review: A provocative idea about oppression that doesn’t work," 16 Sep. 2020 Biden in response relied on a 1970s-vintage policy distinction between de jure and de facto school segregation. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Democratic candidates’ school integration plans, explained," 3 July 2019 In 1896, the Supreme Court upheld de jure racial segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Make the Guarantee Clause Great Again," 17 July 2019 An optimist 40 or 50 years ago might have hoped that de facto segregation would simply fade away over a generation or two, as the formal policies that undergirded de jure segregation were no longer there to support it. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Democratic candidates’ school integration plans, explained," 3 July 2019 Linda Brown is now being honored both by those who recognize the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education as incomplete, and those who very much want to limit it to its original scope of de jure (as opposed to de facto) segregation. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Linda Brown, Center of Watershed Desegregation Case, Dies at 76," 26 Mar. 2018 But this fantasy of commonality has always excluded, de jure and de facto, large swaths of the American population on the basis of their identities. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, "America’s Original Identity Politics," 7 Feb. 2019 No longer content with maintaining de facto apartheid rule in the occupied West Bank, Israeli lawmakers are moving to establish the de jure variety. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Natalie Portman and the Crisis of Liberal Zionism," 26 Apr. 2018 The Soviet Union helped establish Israel and was the first country to bestow on it de jure diplomatic recognition, as well as getting satellite Czechoslovakia to supply it with weapons in 1948. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "Israel Caught in U.S.-Russia Rift Over Syria," 11 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'de jure.' 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 jure

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for de jure

Medieval Latin

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The first known use of de jure was in 1611

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Cite this Entry

“De jure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for de jure

de jure


English Language Learners Definition of de jure

law : based on or according to the law

de jure

adverb or adjective
de ju·​re | \ dē-ˈju̇r-ē, dā-ˈyu̇r-ā How to pronounce de jure (audio) \

Legal Definition of de jure

1 : by right : of right a de jure officer
2 : in accordance with law — see also de jure segregation at segregation — compare de facto

History and Etymology for de jure

Medieval Latin, literally, from the law

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