Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. In reality or fact; actually.
  • adj. Actual: de facto segregation.
  • adj. Exercising power or serving a function without being legally or officially established: a de facto government; a de facto nuclear storage facility.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. In practice; in actual use or existence, regardless of official or legal status.
  • adj. In fact or in practice; in actual use or existence, regardless of official or legal status. (Often opposed to de jure.)
  • n. A legally undeclared spouse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Actually; in fact; in reality.
  • adv. See De facto.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In fact; in reality; actually existing, whether with or without legal or moral right: as, a government or a governor de facto.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. in reality or fact
  • adj. existing in fact whether with lawful authority or not

Etymologies

Latin dē factō : , from, according to + factō, ablative of factum, fact.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin de facto, de ("from") + ablative of factum ("fact, deed, act") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I just heard someone say “de facto�? in air quotes. That’s discombobulating.

    Edit: Again!

    October 16, 2009