De facto

What does it mean?674018

De facto is a Latin term which has become part of the English language. It means ‘in reality,’ ‘in practice’ or ‘actually.’ In Australia and New Zealand, it is also a term for ‘common law wife.’


The literal translation of De facto from Latin to English is ‘in fact.’ It is unknown when it first came into use as an accepted part of the English language.

Standard Use

De facto can be used as an adjective, adverb and a noun, and is often used to refer to a practice which is common or accepted, but not officially recognised or legal. Examples of use in a sentence include:

              ‘Bob’s girlfriend was his de facto wife.’
              ‘She’s become a de facto politician in her local community.’

Alter ego

842088What does it mean?

‘Alter ego’ means another side of oneself, or a second self. It can also be used to refer to a close or trusted friend.


The meaning of ‘alter ego’ in English is ‘alternative personality.’ This Latin term was first used in English in the early 16th century (circa 1530.)

Improper use

‘Alter ego’ is a popular figure of everyday speech, so common that some people may not even be aware that it is actually a Latin term. It is rarely used incorrectly, although the use of the term to mean ‘close friend’ is often forgotten.

Proper use

Alter ego should be used to describe another persona of somebody, usually one that the person in question has created for themselves. Examples of use of the term in a sentence include:

‘Beyonce’s alter ego is Sasha Fierce.’
‘His fiercer, more confident alter ego seemed to appear when he was performing on stage.’

Or when referring to a close friend:

‘She and her alter ego were inseparable.’
‘You never saw him without his alter ego Edgar.’

A quasi Latin lesson…

What does it mean?


‘Quasi’ means having a likeness, or a resemblance, to someone or something.


The literal translation of ‘quasi’ from Latin to English is ‘as if.’ It’s first recorded use within the English language was in the late 15th century, but it didn’t come into popular everyday use until 500 years later.

Improper Use

‘Quasi’ is sometimes used to mean ‘an imitation of,’ which is incorrect.

Proper Use

‘Quasi’ should only be used when describing a resemblance, a likeness, or something that almost is, but isn’t. A few examples of use in sentences:

‘Basically, a ukulele is a quasi-guitar.’
‘His performance was a quasi-success.’

It can also be used in place of ‘sort of’ or seemingly:

‘She was quasi talented, but there were far better out there.’
‘This is a quasi Latin lesson.’