ex post facto

adverb
ex post fac·​to | \ ˌeks-ˌpōs(t)-ˈfak-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce ex post facto (audio) \

Definition of ex post facto

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: after the fact : retroactively

ex post facto

adjective

Definition of ex post facto (Entry 2 of 2)

: done, made, or formulated after the fact : retroactive ex post facto approval ex post facto laws

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Did You Know?

Ex post facto is Latin for "from a thing done afterward". Approval for a project that's given ex post facto—after the project already has been begun or completed—may just have been given in order to save face. An ex post facto law is one that declares someone's action to be criminal only after it was committed--a procedure forbidden by our Constitution.

Examples of ex post facto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And any accurate description of Republicans will then be seized upon by Republicans as hypocrisy, or an ex post facto excuse for their own behavior during the Trump years. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "Jen O’Malley Dillon Fell Into Joe Biden’s Unity Trap," 18 Dec. 2020 So many shows rely on studio interviews or guests recapping their adventures ex post facto — the equivalent of Aunt Jane prattling on about her trip to Tuscany over the phone. Washington Post, "With travel podcasts, explore the world through your ear buds," 11 Dec. 2020 In the case of William of Norwich—a young boy found dead in a wood in England, in the year 1144—his premature demise was transformed, ex post facto, into a ritual supposedly performed by Jews explicitly to mock the Passion of the Christ. Talia Lavin, The New Republic, "QAnon, Blood Libel, and the Satanic Panic," 29 Sep. 2020 Any future decisions about sealants can certainly be applied ex post facto. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Germans Are Building a Time Pyramid Over the Next 1,000 Years," 29 May 2020 Trump’s presidency can be seen as an ex post facto version of those anxieties. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration," 9 July 2020 But there are all sorts of ex post facto good reasons for not eating meat. New York Times, "Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?," 3 July 2019 But the Supreme Court, led by Roberts, accepted his ex post facto rationale for the ban’s third iteration. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Seems Oddly Ambivalent About Being Lied To," 27 June 2019 The Constitution expressly prohibits Congress and the states from enacting ex post facto laws. Robert F. Turner, WSJ, "Gina Haspel Followed Faulty Advice in Good Faith," 21 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ex post 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 ex post facto

Adverb

1621, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1787, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ex post facto

Adverb

Late Latin, literally, from a thing done afterward

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Time Traveler for ex post facto

Time Traveler

The first known use of ex post facto was in 1621

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Cite this Entry

“Ex post facto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ex%20post%20facto. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for ex post facto

ex post facto

adverb
\ ˈeks-ˌpōst-ˈfak-tō How to pronounce ex post facto (audio) \

Legal Definition of ex post facto

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: after the fact : retroactively cannot judge ex post facto

ex post facto

adjective

Legal Definition of ex post facto (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : done, made, or formulated after the fact : retroactive
2 : of or relating to an ex post facto law the chief concerns of the ex post facto ban— L. H. Tribe

History and Etymology for ex post facto

Adverb

Late Latin, literally, from a thing done afterward

Comments on ex post facto

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