From Old French fact, from Latin factum (“an act, deed, feat, etc.”); also Medieval Latin for “state, condition, circumstance”; neuter of factus (“done or made”), perfect passive participle of faciō (“do, make”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁- (“to put, place, set”). Old/Middle French later evolved it into faict and fait. Doublet of feat.
fact (countable and uncountable, plural facts)
- Something actual as opposed to invented.
In this story, the Gettysburg Address is a fact, but the rest is fiction.
1922, Ben Travers, chapter 2, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
Mother […] considered that the exclusiveness of Peter's circle was due not to its distinction, but to the fact that it was an inner Babylon of prodigality and whoredom, from which every Kensingtonian held aloof, except on the conventional tip-and-run excursions in pursuit of shopping, tea and theatres.
- Something which is real.
- Gravity is a fact, not a theory.
- Something concrete used as a basis for further interpretation.
Let's look at the facts of the case before deciding.
- An objective consensus on a fundamental reality that has been agreed upon by a substantial number of experts.
There is no doubting the fact that the Earth orbits the Sun.
- Information about a particular subject, especially actual conditions and/or circumstances.
The facts about space travel.
- (databases) An individual value or measurement at the lowest level of granularity in a data warehouse.
- (archaic) Action; the realm of action.
1622, Francis Bacon, The History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, page 1:
After that Richard, the third of that name, king in fact only, but tyrant both in title and regiment […] was […] overthrown and slain at Bosworth Field; there succeeded in the kingdom […] Henry the Seventh.
- (law, obsolete except in set phrases) A wrongful or criminal deed.
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.ix:
- She was empassiond at that piteous act, / With zelous enuy of Greekes cruell fact, / Against that nation [...].
1819, T. Howell, A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors:
Gentlemen of the Jury, I think I need say but little on this matter: They all confess the fact of which they stand indicted. Some of them were old offenders, and all of them were proved to be at the taking of capt. Manwareing's sloop, and all took their shares: so that I think the fact is very fully and clearly proved upon them.
He had become an accessory after the fact.
- (obsolete) A feat or meritorious deed.
c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. […] The First Part […], part 1, 2nd edition, London: […] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, […], published 1592, OCLC 932920499; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire; London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act III, scene ii:
UUho when he ſhal embrace you in his arms
UUil tell how many thouſand men he ſlew.
And when you looke for amorous diſcourſe,
Will rattle foorth his facts of war and blood:
Too harſh a ſubiect for your daintie eares.
Terms etymologically related to fact
an honest observation
- Arabic: مَعْلُومَة f (maʿlūma), حَقِيقَة (ar) f (ḥaqīqa)
- Armenian: փաստ (hy) (pʿast)
- Aromanian: faptu
- Asturian: fechu (ast) m
- Belarusian: факт m (fakt)
- Bulgarian: факт (bg) m (fakt)
- Catalan: fet (ca)
- Mandarin: 真相 (zh) (zhēnxiàng), 事實 (zh), 事实 (zh) (shìshí)
- Czech: fakt (cs) m
- Danish: kendsgerning, faktum (da)
- Dutch: feit (nl) n
- Esperanto: fakto
- Estonian: fakt
- Finnish: tosiasia (fi), fakta (fi), tosio (fi)
- French: fait (fr) m, vérité (fr) f
- Friulian: fat
- Galician: feito (gl) m
- Georgian: ფაქტი (pakṭi)
- German: Tatsache (de) f, Fakt (de) m
- Hebrew: עובדה (he) f ('uvda)
- Hindi: तथ्य (hi) m (tathya)
- Hungarian: tény (hu)
- Icelandic: raun (is) f
- Ido: fakto (io)
- Italian: fatto (it) m
- Japanese: 事実 (ja) (じじつ, jijitsu)
- Korean: 사실(事實) (ko) (sasil), 진상(眞相) (ko) (jinsang)
- Kyrgyz: факт (ky) (fakt), окуя (ky) (oquya), болмуш (ky) (bolmuş), чындык (ky) (çındıq), күч (ky) (küç), жароо (ky) (jaroo)
- Latvian: fakts m, notikums m
something which has become real
something concrete used as a basis for further interpretation
an objective consensus on a fundamental reality
information about a particular subject
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
- Used before making a statement to introduce it as a trustworthy one.