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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the kingdom's de facto ruler. NBC News, 12 Oct. 2021 Taiwan is chiefly concerned with shoring up its de facto independent status while maintaining economic links with China and avoiding a military clash. David Rising, ajc, 9 Oct. 2021 First Lady Edith Wilson served as de facto president and conspired with her husband’s staff to conceal his incapacity. Deroy Murdock, National Review, 8 Oct. 2021 Too often, our kids become de facto therapists for one another with no loving, reliable adult available to serve as an ally or guide through the morass of images and information offered on Instagram. John Duffy, CNN, 5 Oct. 2021 When the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens, Newsome came with them as the team’s vice president of player personnel and de facto general manager. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 4 June 2021 Brad Stevens had served as a de facto assistant general manager over his eight seasons as coach, gaining a level of comfort and responsibility as time passed. BostonGlobe.com, 2 June 2021 Duke Tobin, the Bengals de facto general manager, did it again. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 9 Mar. 2021 As the de facto manager of Donhauser Florist, an Astoria flower shop opened by her great-great-grandfather in 1889, Ms. Gray is used to brokering transactions of affection through bouquets. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About de facto

Time Traveler for de facto

Time Traveler

The first known use of de facto was in 1601

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near de facto

deface

de facto

defailance

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for de facto

Cite this Entry

“De facto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/de%20facto. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on de facto

Nglish: Translation of de facto for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of de facto for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!