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fact

[fakt] /fækt/
noun
1.
something that actually exists; reality; truth:
Your fears have no basis in fact.
2.
something known to exist or to have happened:
Space travel is now a fact.
3.
a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:
Scientists gather facts about plant growth.
4.
something said to be true or supposed to have happened:
The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.
5.
Law.. Often, facts. an actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence.
Idioms
6.
after the fact, Law. after the commission of a crime:
an accessory after the fact.
7.
before the fact, Law. prior to the commission of a crime:
an accessory before the fact.
8.
in fact, actually; really; indeed:
In fact, it was a wonder that anyone survived.
Origin
1530-1540
1530-40; < Latin factum something done, deed, noun use of neuter of factus done, past participle of facere to do1
Related forms
factful, adjective
Can be confused
facts, FAQs, fax.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for after the fact

fact

/fækt/
noun
1.
an event or thing known to have happened or existed
2.
a truth verifiable from experience or observation
3.
a piece of information: get me all the facts of this case
4.
(law) (often pl) an actual event, happening, etc, as distinguished from its legal consequences. Questions of fact are decided by the jury, questions of law by the court or judge
5.
(philosophy) a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement
6.
(criminal law) after the fact, after the commission of the offence: an accessory after the fact
7.
(criminal law) before the fact, before the commission of the offence
8.
as a matter of fact, in fact, in point of fact, in reality or actuality
9.
fact of life, an inescapable truth, esp an unpleasant one
10.
the fact of the matter, the truth
Derived Forms
factful, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin factum something done, from factus made, from facere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for after the fact

fact

n.

1530s, "action," especially "evil deed," from Latin factum "event, occurrence," literally "thing done," neuter past participle of facere "to do" (see factitious). Usual modern sense of "thing known to be true" appeared 1630s, from notion of "something that has actually occurred." Facts of life "harsh realities" is from 1854; specific sense of "human sexual functions" first recorded 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with after the fact

after the fact

After an actual occurrence, particularly after a crime. For example, I know the brakes should have been repaired, but that doesn't help much after the fact. The use of fact for a crime dates from the first half of the 1500s. The word became standard in British law and is still used in this way today. The idiom was first recorded in 1769 in the phrase accessories after the fact, referring to persons who assist a lawbreaker after a crime has been committed. Now it is also used more loosely, as in the example above.

fact

In addition to the idiom beginning with
fact
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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8
8
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