Word of the Day

Friday, March 05, 2004

fait accompli

\fay-tah-kom-PLEE; fet-ah-\ , noun;
plural faits accomplis \same or -PLEEZ\
An accomplished and presumably irreversible deed or fact.
In 1991, with German reunification a fait accompli and the European Community striding toward full political and economic integration, the future had seemed extraordinarily bright.
-- Richard K. Lester, The Productive Edge
Olga, strict and tradition-minded, marries a man her father has found for her in Greece: she accepts the choice as a fait accompli, and falls in love with him on sight.
-- Michiko Kakutani, "After 'Eleni,' Life of a Woman's Children in America", New York Times, October 17, 1989
To argue that Napoleon could have acted differently at Borodino is a meaningless wrestle with a fait accompli.
-- James Wood, The Broken Estate
Fait accompli comes from the French, literally meaning "accomplished fact": fait, from Latin factum, "a thing done," from factus, past participle of facere, "to make or do" + accompli, past participle of accomplir, from Latin ad- + complere, "to fill up, to complete," from com- + plere, "to fill."
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