Definition of de facto in English:

de facto


  • In fact, whether by right or not.

    ‘the country was de facto divided between two states’
    Often contrasted with de jure
    • ‘This annexation, similar to the de facto annexation of broad tracts of land, constitutes a flagrant breach of the right of the people to self-determination.’
    • ‘The nature and characteristics of de facto economic integration are also crucially important and this book presents a deeper understanding of the on-going de facto economic integration in East Asia.’
    • ‘The statement underlined the impact of de facto financial sanctions on the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second biggest oil producer.’
    in practice, in effect, in fact, in reality, really, actually, in actuality
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  • Existing or holding a specified position in fact but not necessarily by legal right.

    ‘a de facto one-party system’
    • ‘The court will also protect a child of a de facto relationship in the same way.’
    • ‘You want to be more involved in the child's court case and are considering becoming a de facto parent.’
    • ‘Thus, it recently recognised the right for de facto spouses to consent to care for a partner who is unfit.’
    • ‘Simply put, in the case of a de facto national primary, long-shot candidates need not apply.’
    actual, existing, existent, real, effective
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Latin, literally ‘of fact’.


de facto

/deɪ ˈfaktəʊ/