Word for Wednesday: De facto

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for September is Latin expressions used in English.

Last week we looked at the term et cetera and today we are looking at the term de facto.

De facto is a Latin term with legal roots. The expression means ‘in fact’ or ‘in reality’ and it refers to something that exists but may not necessarily be legally ordained.

Here is de facto used in some example sentences:

  • She was the de facto leader of the group.
  • The de facto official language was English.
  • They are not legally married, but they’ve been together so long they are de facto spouses.

 De facto is often used to contrast the term de jure which means ‘in law’. Within a legal situation, de jure refers to what is legally allowed to happen, whereas de facto refers to what is happening in actuality.


14 Sep 2022
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