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de facto adv[Medieval Latin, literally, from the fact]
: in reality
: actually [these two constraints have been lifted, one de facto and one de jure "Susan Lee"]
adj 1 : actual
: being such in effect though not formally recognized see also de facto segregation at segregation
2 : exercising power as if legally constituted or authorized [a de facto government] [a de facto judge] compare de jure
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.