Definition of de facto in US English:

de facto


  • In fact, or in effect, whether by right or not.

    ‘the island has been de facto divided into two countries’
    Often contrasted with de jure
    • ‘The statement underlined the impact of de facto financial sanctions on the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second biggest oil producer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    in practice, in effect, in fact, in reality, really, actually, in actuality
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  • attributive Denoting someone or something that is such in fact.

    ‘a de facto one-party system’
    • ‘Simply put, in the case of a de facto national primary, long-shot candidates need not apply.’
    • ‘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.’
    actual, existing, existent, real, effective
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Latin, literally ‘of fact’.


de facto

/ˌdā ˈfaktō//ˌdeɪ ˈfæktoʊ/