prima facie

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From Latin prīmā ‎(first) faciē ‎(shape, figure), literally “at the first appearance.”


  • IPA(key): /ˈpraɪmə ˈfeɪʃiː, -ʃə/


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prima facie ‎(comparative more prima facie, superlative most prima facie)

  1. (law) at first sight; on the face of it


prima facie ‎(not comparable)

  1. (law) apparently correct; not needing proof unless evidence to the contrary is shown

Usage notes[edit]

In common usage, often used to mean that the conclusion is obvious. In more narrow legal usage, it means rather that there is a case to answer – that the question is clear, but the conclusion is not necessarily obvious – with an obvious conclusion rather being referred to as res ipsa loquitur ‎(the thing speaks for itself). However, res ipsa loquitur is rarely used in common speech, instead referred to as an open and shut case. See prima facie: res ipsa loquitur and res ipsa loquitur: contrast to prima facie for details.