fact of the matter, the

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

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