de facto

[dee fak-toh, dey]

adverb, adjective

in fact; in reality: Although his title was prime minister, he was de facto president of the country. Although the school was said to be open to all qualified students, it still practiced de facto segregation.
actually existing, especially when without lawful authority (distinguished from de jure).


Australian. a person who lives in an intimate relationship with but is not married to a person of the opposite sex; lover.

Origin of de facto

First recorded in 1595–1605, de facto is from the Latin word dē factō literally, from the fact
Can be confusedde facto de jure

ex facto

[eks fahk-toh; English eks fak-toh]

adverb Latin.

according to fact; actually. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for facto

Contemporary Examples of facto

  • It is immoral to deny Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel full and equal rights de facto and not only de jure.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How I Lost My Zionism

    Aryeh Cohen

    March 15, 2012

Historical Examples of facto

British Dictionary definitions for facto

de facto


in fact


existing in fact, whether legally recognized or nota de facto regime Compare de jure

noun plural -tos

Australian and NZ a de facto husband or wife

Word Origin for de facto

C17: Latin
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 facto

de facto

Latin, literally "in fact, in reality," thus, "existing, but not necessarily legally ordained;" from facto, ablative of factum "deed, act" (see fact).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

facto in Culture

de facto

[(di fak-toh, day fak-toh)]

Something generally accepted or agreed to without any formal decision in its favor: “They never elected him; he became their leader de facto.” From Latin, meaning “in fact.” (Compare de jure.)

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.