ex post facto

[eks pohst fak-toh]


from or by subsequent action; subsequently; retrospectively; retroactively.


having retroactive force; made or done subsequently: an ex post facto law.

Origin of ex post facto

1625–35; < Latin: from a thing done afterward, from what is done afterward
Can be confusedad hoc a posteriori a priori ex post facto prima facie
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of ex post facto

British Dictionary definitions for ex post facto

ex post facto


having retrospective effectan ex post facto law

Word Origin for ex post facto

C17: from Latin ex from + post afterwards + factus done, from facere to do
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ex post facto

from Medieval Latin ex postfacto, "from what is done afterwards."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for ex post facto

ex post facto

[(eks pohst fak-toh)]

An explanation or regulation concocted after the event, sometimes misleading or unjust: “Your ex post facto defense won't stand up in court.” (See ex post facto law.) From Latin, meaning “after the deed.”

ex post facto

[(eks pohst fak-toh)]

A descriptive term for an explanation or a law that is made up after an event and then applied to it: “The chairman's description of his plan sounds like an ex post facto attempt to justify an impulsive action.” Ex post facto is Latin for “from after the deed.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.