- prima facie
- adj. At first sight; before closer inspection
Since last week we had a pretentious German word, this week we will have a pretentious Latin phrase that I used several times in my last research paper. Prima facie (pronounced “pry-muh fah-shee”) has several meanings, but the most common is “at first glance” or “superficially,” and that is the context in which I use it.
For instance, you could say that a prima facie reading of this post may indicate that I’m providing my listener with original information, when I may in fact only be reiterating a dictionary definition and then glossing it for meaning.
The word comes from the Latin prima, meaning “first,” and facie, or “face.”