Words of the Week! de facto & de jure

Island of CyprusRecently, I ran across this usage from a 2018 article in The Atlantic:

And like de jure segregation—when the government legally engineered ghettos into existence—de facto segregation continues to exacerbate wealth and racial inequality today.

I often use de facto, luckily in its correct sense as stated in the OED, “in fact, in reality, in actual existence, force, or possession, as a matter of fact.”

There’s a clear distinction in all of the terms referenced by the OED using the Latin preposition de. 

For de jure, it is a case of something being “according to law.” My example will get this post banned in China, but the Chinese occupation of Tibet constitutes a de facto, but not a de jure, annexation of another nation.  The same applies in Cyprus, where in 2005 I crossed a de facto border between north and south, seeing the UN blue helmets try to maintain a ceasefire between the Turkish and Greek populations. Closer to home, many executive orders by our Presidents constitute similar de facto, but not de jure, changes to how our government functions.

Look at the news: which recent events and social changes are likely to become de facto, but not de jure, parts of our daily lives in the near future?

Maybe you have some words or metaphors that puzzle you? E-mail jessid-at-richmond-dot-edu with your nominees. See all of our Metaphors of the Month here and Words of the Week here.

image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons en Español. Hay que practicarlo.