the fact of the matter

Also found in: Wikipedia.

the fact of the matter

The most basic, fundamental truth of something. I know these regulations are unpopular, but the fact of that matter is that we have to control property prices if we are going to avoid an economic crisis like what we faced in the past. He never shies away from discussing the fact of the matter, even if it means he comes across badly.
See also: fact, matter, of

the ˈfact/ˈtruth of the matter

used when you want to show you are being honest, or when you are telling somebody something unusual or surprising: I didn’t take anything, and that’s the truth of the matter.The fact of the matter is that they only got married so she could stay in the country.
See also: fact, matter, of, truth

fact of the matter, the

The truth. This rather empty phrase, for which plain and simple “fact” would do just as well, is somewhat newer than its turnaround companion, as a matter of fact, which means “in truth” and, as Eric Partridge pointed out years ago, often precedes a lie. Both have been clichés since the nineteenth century. Two closely related locutions are the truth of the matter and if truth be known, which generally precede an emphatic statement of how the speaker sees a situation. On the other hand, matter-of-fact used as an adjective has a quite different meaning, that is, straightforward and commonplace, and a matter of fact without as has meant, since the sixteenth century, something of an actually factual nature.
See also: fact, of
References in classic literature ?
The fact of the matter is, I thought, with Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good, that the best plan would be to tell my story in a plain, straightforward manner, and to leave these matters to be dealt with subsequently in whatever way ultimately may appear to be desirable.
The fact of the matter is that things are going on in Germany, just at the present moment, the knowledge of which is of vital interest to us.
The fact of the matter was that he had only just finished giving the father of the family his shilling, and he was afraid that Claire had seen him doing it.
Of course I couldn't have left her there alone, no matter how much I might have desired to do so; but the fact of the matter was that I didn't desire to leave her.
He said: "I may be Scottish and we joke about it but the fact of the matter is we do want England qualifying for the World Cup because we need England to be strong for the sake of our football.
Recently, news reports had it that Amro is extremely busy preparing for a new song for one of the politicians running for president a matter that is not true and the fact of the matter is that Amro is extremely busy with recording the songs of his upcoming album that is scheduled for release by the end of the year.
But the fact of the matter is, with the social media being what it is today, with the press and the 24-hour news cycle, it's very difficult to get away from it," he added.
The fact of the matter is that offence can be caused even if unintended, but it still cannot go unpunished.
But the fact of the matter is, no matter how you dress it up, the Europa League is having an impact on their season.
The fact of the matter is the programme is ghastly and the time has now arrived to give it the chop.
The fact of the matter is that such garments are not meeting their contractual obligations.
The fact of the matter is that if this were a truly dangerous release of a highly toxic substance (either intentionally or accidentally caused) literally tens of thousands of New Yorkers may have been severely injured or killed.
But the fact of the matter is that, as with our jobs and our relationships, what we put in determines what we get back.
Due to various protections in the litigation system itself, the fact of the matter is that very few medical malpractice claims ever get to court.