Fact (n.) - Quick Entry

Fact (n.) - Quick Entry


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Definition

Fact

noun
Something that has actual existence, or has actually occurred in the past.

History & Etymology

One of my favorite aspects of looking into the history of words is finding other words the derived from the same origin, and the word fact comes from a PIE root that I’ve covered before, for the word DOOM. Where as doom usually implies a future that cannot be changed fact on the other hand means the same thing for the past. An event or action in the past has happened. The common PIE root for both of these words was dhe-, which meant to “to set, or put.” Many of the words born from dhe- simply meant to “act or do.” You can even see this in a word like factory. Yes, the word fact at the beginning of factory follows from the dhe- root. Factories PUT things together, or they DO things.

Fact didn’t come into english from it’s Germanic roots as doom did, but it was borrowed from Latin, where it referred to an “Event, occurrence, deed, or achievement.” In english it was used primarily to refer to an “evil deed” specifically. It wasn’t till the 1630s that the word fact became associated with the idea of “the actual state of things.

Another word that some of my sources recommending comparing the word fact to was feat. A word borrowed from French which still to this day means “an action taken.”

Sources

https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=fact

https://www.etymonline.com/word/*dhe-

http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/67478?rskey=Y6RJ7t&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact

https://www.etymonline.com/word/feat

http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/68808#eid4537661

https://www.etymonline.com/word/fact#etymonline_v_1064

https://www.etymonline.com/word/*dhe-?ref=etymonline_crossreference

http://0-www.oed.com.catalog.multcolib.org/view/Entry/56228#eid6331501

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