fait » fate

Chiefly in:   fate accompli

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • She asked Dr. Rabianski to head a subcommittee to investigate the issue. Dr. Rabianski agreed and asked that the Committee discuss the issue even if it is a fate accompli. (Georgia State University Senate, P&D Committee minutes, Sep. 23, 1999)
  • Thus a social order dictated by the ‘free’ market and yet, ironically, ‘determined’ by the globalised capital is fast imposing itself as a fate accompli. (Tribune of India, Oct. 14, 2001)
  • “My reaction was they’re just giving them more time so they can take over more, that the military wing of the opposition can take over more ground in Haiti and create a fate accompli,” Kurzban said. (Democracy Now!, Feb. 25, 2004)
  • Many thousands have worked tirelessly for decades in opposing (and fighting against) a merger with India or Pakistan as a fate-accompli. (Pakistan Observer, Apr. 28, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

A particularly apt cross-linguistic eggcorn, since a _fait accompli_ seems “fated” to occur.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/18 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Chris Waigl , 2005/07/18 at 7:38 pm

    The variant fete accompli, which is nearly as common, is in my opinion a misspelling (i.e. no semantic reinterpretation involved). Except when it is spelled with the French circumflex accent (fête) and, rarely, the feminine agreement (required in French) (accomplie), in which case I have only seen it in puns.

  2. 2

    Commentary by Paul Battley , 2005/09/26 at 9:21 pm

    I’ve just seen another variant of fait accompli: “fate a comply”. It seems to include an element of mispronunciation as well as being an eggcorn.

  3. 3

    Commentary by Ben Zimmer , 2005/09/26 at 9:28 pm

    There are also some Googlehits for fate accomplice.

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