prima facie

pri·​ma fa·​cie | \ ˌprī-mə-ˈfā-shə How to pronounce prima facie (audio) , -shē, -sē also -shē-ˌē, -sē-ˌē \

Definition of prima facie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: at first view : on the first appearance

prima facie


Definition of prima facie (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : true, valid, or sufficient at first impression : apparent the theory … gives a prima facie solution— R. J. Butler
3 : legally sufficient to establish a fact or a case unless disproved prima facie evidence

Examples of prima facie in a Sentence

Adjective a prima facie case of tax fraud There is strong prima facie evidence that she committed perjury.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While most states follow absolute speeding limits, some have presumed or prima facie speeding limits, according to a database created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology software engineer John Carr. Ana Faguy, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 One metric that some view as prima facie evidence of looming inflation is a nearly 40% spike in money supply (M2) since the coronavirus pandemic struck in February 2020 (see chart). Nick Sargen, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 Yelp argued that it ought not be required to respond to the subpoena because Mirza failed to establish a prima facie case. Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, 11 Jan. 2022 Once the employee makes out a prima facie, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a non-discriminatory reason for its actions. Eric Bachman, Forbes, 10 Dec. 2021 The first issue decided by the appellate court centered on whether Sempowich established a prima facie case of employment discrimination under Title VII. Eric Bachman, Forbes, 10 Dec. 2021 None of these scenarios is prima facie impossible, and therefore, once raised, none can be dismissed out of hand. Lindsay Beyerstein, The New Republic, 10 Dec. 2021 And thus far a disquieting amount of the information the mobster alleged appears to have a prima facie believability. Melik Kaylan, Forbes, 8 June 2021 That’s because people have a prima facie obligation to return the belongings of others. Kate Padgett Walsh, The Conversation, 2 June 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of prima facie


circa 1500, in the meaning defined above


1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prima facie


Middle English, borrowed from Latin prīmā faciē, from prīmā, ablative singular feminine of prīmus "first, foremost" + faciē, ablative singular of faciēs "appearance, sight" — more at prime entry 2, face entry 1


derivative of prima facie entry 1

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Time Traveler for prima facie

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The first known use of prima facie was circa 1500

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Cite this Entry

“Prima facie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for prima facie

prima facie

pri·​ma fa·​cie | \ ˈprī-mə-ˈfā-shə, -sē, -shē How to pronounce prima facie (audio) \

Legal Definition of prima facie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: at first view : on first appearance absent other information or evidence guidelines which would prima facie accredit new entrance examinations as nondiscriminatory— S. L. Lynch — compare ex facie

prima facie


Legal Definition of prima facie (Entry 2 of 2)

: sufficient to establish a fact or case unless disproved prima facie proof a prima facie showing

History and Etymology for prima facie



More from Merriam-Webster on prima facie

Britannica English: Translation of prima facie for Arabic Speakers


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