prima facie

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


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɹaɪmə ˈfeɪʃiː/, /-ʃə/


English Wikipedia has an article on:

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

  1. (law) At first sight; on the face of it.
    • 1871, Hamilton, Gail, Gala-days, page 191:
      [] the nicest young man that ever was, — daintily gloved, patently booted, oilily curled, snowily wristbanded, with a lovely cambric (prima facie) handkerchief bound about his hyacinthine locks and polished hat.


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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. See also Wikipedia at Prima facie: res ipsa loquitur and Res ipsa loquitur: contrast to prima facie.