views updated May 21 2018

fact / fakt/ • n. a thing that is indisputably the case. ∎  a piece of information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article. ∎  chiefly Law the truth about events as opposed to interpretation: a question of fact as to whether they had received the letter.PHRASES: before (or after) the fact before (or after) the committing of a crime: an accessory before the fact.a fact of life something that must be accepted as true and unchanging, even if it is unpleasant.facts and figures precise details.the facts of life information about sexual functions and practices, esp. as given to children.the fact of the matter the truth.in (point of) fact used to emphasize the truth of an assertion: Aunt Madeline isn't in fact my aunt but a family friend.


views updated Jun 27 2018

fact There is no generalized opposition between the everyday and sociological uses of the term fact. Both suggest that any statement which is true can be described as a fact. For example, it is a fact that British law prohibits murder, that Russia possesses nuclear weapons, and that wealth in America is distributed unequally. However, there is a considerable social science literature on the relationship between facts and theories, or interpretations based on facts. It is for this reason that social science generalizations are often contested. Most sociologists would also accept that many of the most interesting social facts are theory impregnated; that is, they imply certain assumptions about what is significant in society, and how best to conceptualize this. Facts are also considered to be provisional–considered true until shown otherwise. The boundary between fact and assertion is also hard to draw–although many would argue that falsifiability provides a useful criterion for the social sciences.


views updated Jun 11 2018


Incident, act, event, or circumstance. A fact is something that has already been done or an action in process. It is an event that has definitely and actually taken place, and is distinguishable from a suspicion, innuendo, or supposition. A fact is a truth as opposed to fiction or mistake.

A question of fact in litigation is concerned with what actually took place. During a trial, questions of fact are generally left for the jury to determine after each opposing side has presented its case. By contrast, a question of law is ordinarily decided by a judge, who must deal with applicable legal rules and principles that affect what transpired.


views updated May 17 2018

fact deed (now only in leg. use after, before the fact, etc.); something that has occurred, what has happened; truth, reality XVI; (pl.) circumstances and incidents of a case XVIII. — L. factum, sb. use of n. pp. of facere DO1.
Hence (after ACTUAL) factual XIX.


views updated May 18 2018

fact fact is stranger than fiction an alliterative version of truth is stranger than fiction; saying recorded from the mid 19th century.
a fact of life something that must be accepted and cannot be changed, however unpalatable.

see also facts.