- (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.
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.