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

  • adv. At first sight; before closer inspection: They had, prima facie, a legitimate complaint.
  • adj. True, authentic, or adequate at first sight; ostensible: prima facie credibility.
  • adj. Evident without proof or reasoning; obvious: a prima facie violation of the treaty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. at first sight; on the face of it
  • adj. apparently correct; not needing proof unless evidence to the contrary is shown

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • At first view; on the first appearance.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. At first view or appearance. See at prime face, under prime, a.
  • n. A case consisting of evidence sufficient to go to the jury: that is to say, one which raises a presumption of fact, and hence will justify a verdict, though it may not require one.

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

  • adv. at first sight
  • adj. as it seems at first sight


Middle English, manifestly, from Latin prīmā faciē : prīmā, feminine ablative of prīmus, first + faciē, ablative of faciēs, shape, face.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin (Wiktionary)


  • The public mind at such a moment falls into the old medieval confusion – he who feeds or shelters a heretic is upon prima facie evidence a heretic himself – he who knows intimately people among whom anarchists arise is therefore an

    Twenty Years at Hull-House, With Autobiographical Notes

  • Fa’úlun, and this, standing by itself, might prima facie be taken for a line of the Hazaj (iii.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Philistines-from Caphtor, "(Amos 9: 7) and" the remnant of the maritime district of Caphtor "(Jeremiah 47: 4) it is prima facie probable that they were the Caphtorim which came out of Caphtor" who expelled the Avim from their territory and occupied it; in their place, (2: 23) and that these again were the Caphtorim mentioned in the Mosaic genealogical table among the descendants of Mizraim.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • When the Cumberland's papers were examined by Decaen's officers, and these despatches were read and translated, there was at once a prima facie ground for saying, “this officer is not engaged on purely scientific work; he is the bearer of despatches which might if delivered have an influence upon the present war.”

    The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders


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  • at first glance without additional investigation; self-evident; obvious

    November 30, 2007