from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An accomplished, presumably irreversible deed or fact.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An accomplished fact, something that has already occurred; a done deal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A fact accomplished; a thing done; a scheme already carried into execution.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an irreversible accomplishment


French : fait, fact + accompli, accomplished.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French fait accompli ("an accomplished fact"), from fait ("a fact") + accompli ("accomplished"). (Wiktionary)


  • She will hang Philip and present Earl Robert with a fait accompli and a dead son.

    Brother Cadfael's Penance

  • But he turns serious on the subject of the geek-to-chic evolution, saying it was a fait accompli the moment Forbes declared Bill Gates the world's richest man in 1993.

    Now That Everyone Wants to Be a Geek, Lawyers Have Been Called

  • When the proposal to dramatically upgrade the emergency fund was brought to the General Assembly in late 2005, it was already an uncontroversial fait accompli and the first element of the secretary-general’s reform package to be agreed on.

    A Billion Lives


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  • Meaning

    An accomplished fact; an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it.


    The literal translation into English of this French phrase is a fact realized or accomplished - what might these days be called a done deal. Strangely, it entered the English language via a travelogue of Spain rather than France. Richard Ford's A hand-book for travellers in Spain (1845) was, and still is, regarded as a classic of travel writing. In it Ford included the phrase "This is now a fait accompli.", in regard of some previously decided fact.

    March 9, 2008