adverb, adjective

  1. 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.
  2. actually existing, especially when without lawful authority (distinguished from de jure).


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

adverb Latin.

  1. according to fact; actually.


  1. in fact


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

noun plural -tos

  1. Australian and NZ a de facto husband or wife

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

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.)

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