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after the fact



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Idioms and Phrases

After an actual occurrence, particularly after a crime. For example, I know the brakes should have been repaired, but that doesn't help much after the fact . The use of fact for a crime dates from the first half of the 1500s. The word became standard in British law and is still used in this way today. The idiom was first recorded in 1769 in the phrase accessories after the fact , referring to persons who assist a lawbreaker after a crime has been committed. Now it is also used more loosely, as in the example above.

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Example Sentences

In the case of a clear emergency, the government could still bypass a judge and then seek after-the-fact approval.

But, for bigger charges, like a misdemeanor or felony, you can be busted after-the-fact just for tweeting a picture.

On Monday, Chris returned to his own MSNBC show to deliver an after-the-fact rebuttal.

Most often, it appears as an after-the-fact rationalization for changes that were happening anyway and for other reasons.

There is no evidence, not even an argument, just an after-the-fact assertion, pulled out of the hat.

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axolotl

[ak-suh-lot-l ]

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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