The word fact can refer to verified information about past or present circumstances or events which are presented as objective reality. In science, it means a provable concept.
Etymology and usage
The word fact derives from the Latin Factum, and was first used in English with the same meaning: "a thing done or performed", a use that is now obsolete. The common usage of, "something that has really occurred or is the case", dates from the middle of the sixteenth century.
Fact is sometimes used synonymously with truth or reality, as distinguishable from conclusions or opinions. This use is found in such phrases Matter of fact, and "... not history, nor fact, but imagination."
Fact also indicates a matter under discussion deemed to be true or correct, such as to emphasize a point or prove a disputed issue; (e.g., "... the fact of the matter is ...").
Alternatively, fact may also indicate an allegation or stipulation of something that may or may not be a "true fact", (e.g., "the author's facts are not trustworthy"). This alternate usage, although contested by some, has a long history in standard English.
Fact may also indicate findings derived through a process of evaluation, including review of testimony, direct observation, or otherwise; as distinguishable from matters of inference or speculation. This use is reflected in the terms "fact-find" and "fact-finder" (e.g., "set up a fact-finding commission").
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