fact

noun

1
a
: something that has actual existence
space exploration is now a fact
b
: an actual occurrence
prove the fact of damage
2
: a piece of information presented as having objective reality
These are the hard facts of the case.
3
: the quality of being actual : actuality
a question of fact hinges on evidence
4
: a thing done: such as
a
: crime
accessory after the fact
b
archaic : action
c
obsolete : feat
5
archaic : performance, doing
Phrases
in fact
: in truth
He looks younger, but in fact, he is 60 years old.

Example Sentences

Rapid electronic communication is now a fact. The book is filled with interesting facts and figures. He did it, and that's a fact.
Recent Examples on the Web In fact, the above argument involving the triangle, the rectangle and the square shows that scissors congruence is also transitive. Patrick Honner, Quanta Magazine, 21 Nov. 2022 In a fierce race over the past few episodes to find and save her baby Coco, Rosita did, in fact, rescue her daughter. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 21 Nov. 2022 In fact, nearly all of the recovery tech brand's lineup can be scored at a top-tier discount. John Thompson, Men's Health, 21 Nov. 2022 In fact, Canada and the United Kingdom’s government websites both say to avoid them, citing serious accidents involving tourists. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 21 Nov. 2022 Both Joy and Virginia are fictional but based in fact, yes? Margy Rochlin, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2022 In fact, their busiest holiday season lasts from October through about Valentine's Day, according to Forbes, and the bakery and museum are open year-round from Friday to Sunday. Endia Fontanez, The Arizona Republic, 21 Nov. 2022 In fact, the singer hit the AMAs red carpet in one of our absolute favorite looks of the entire night. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 21 Nov. 2022 In fact, this summer the Brazilian Ministry of Health reported that dengue fever was continuing to spread in all five regions of the country. WIRED, 21 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fact.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin factum "deed, action, real event," noun derivative from neuter of factus, past participle of facere "to make, bring about, perform, do," going back to a suffixed form *dhh1-k-i̯e- (with perfect fēcī from *dheh1-k-) of Indo-European *dhh1-, dheh1- "put, place, make, do" — more at do entry 1

Note: The extension *-k- has been compared with the Greek extended aorist éthēka "I placed" (corresponding to present títhēmi "I set, put, placed"), apparently parallel to Latin jaciō, jacere "to throw" and Greek hêka "I threw" (see jet entry 3); though the identity of the two formatives has been disputed.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of fact was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fact

Cite this Entry

“Fact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

fact

noun

1
a
: a thing done
b
: crime sense 1
accessory after the fact
2
: the quality of being actual
3
: something that actually exists or occurs
space travel is now a fact
prove the fact of damage
4
: a piece of information about something presented as true and accurate
a book filled with facts
in fact
: in truth : actually

Legal Definition

fact

noun

1
: something that has actual existence : a matter of objective reality
2
: any of the circumstances of a case that exist or are alleged to exist in reality : a thing whose actual occurrence or existence is to be determined by the evidence presented at trial see also finding of fact at finding, judicial notice, question of fact at question, trier of fact compare law, opinion
adjudicative fact
: a fact particularly related to the parties to an especially administrative proceeding compare legislative fact in this entry
collateral fact
: a fact that has no direct relation to or immediate bearing on the case or matter in question compare material fact in this entry
constitutional fact
: a fact that relates to the determination of a constitutional issue (as violation of a constitutional right) used especially of administrative findings of fact
evidentiary fact
: a fact that is part of the situation from which a case arises and that is established by testimony or other evidence

called also mediate fact, predicate fact

compare ultimate fact in this entry
legislative fact
: a fact of general social, economic, or scientific relevance that does not change from case to case compare adjudicative fact in this entry
material fact
: a fact that affects decision making: as
a : a fact upon which the outcome of all or part of a lawsuit depends
b : a fact that would influence a reasonable person under the circumstances in making an investment decision (as in purchasing a security or voting for a corporate officer or action)
mediate fact
: evidentiary fact in this entry
predicate fact
: evidentiary fact in this entry
ultimate fact \ ˈəl-​ti-​mət-​ \
: a conclusion of law or especially mixed fact and law that is necessary to the determination of issues in a case and that is established by evidentiary facts compare evidentiary fact in this entry
in fact
: as a factual matter : established by fact rather than as a matter of law

History and Etymology for fact

Latin factum deed, real happening, something done, from neuter of factus, past participle of facere to do, make

More from Merriam-Webster on fact

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