principle


principle
/'prInsifipFl/ noun
1 MORAL RULE
a) (C, U) a moral rule or set of ideas which makes you behave in a particular way: She resigned on a matter of principle. | the principle of the thing spoken: You shouldn't just take the car without asking, it's the principle of the thing. | on principle (=because of a moral rule you follow): I don't eat meat on principle. | on the principle that: We charge no fees on the principle that education should be available for all.
b) strong ideas about what is morally right or wrong, that you try to follow in everything you do: He has no principles; he'll do anything, as long as it's profitable. | against sb's principles (=morally wrong to that person)
2 RULES OF A PROCESS
a) (C) a rule which explains the way something such as a machine works, or which explains a natural force in the universe: the principle of the internal combustion engine | Archimedes' principle
b) principles plural the general rules on which a skill, science etc is based: Einstein's theories form the basic principles of modern physics. | first principles (=the most important and basic rules)
3 BELIEF (C) a belief that is accepted as a reason for an action, way of thinking etc: the principle of free markets
4 man/woman of principle someone who has strong ideas about what is morally right or wrong
5 in principle
a) if something is possible in principle, there is no good reason why it should not happen, but it has not actually happened yet: In principle you are entitled to a financial grant, but they're difficult to claim.
b) if you agree in principle, you agree about a general plan or idea without the details: The scheme seems O.K. in principle, but I'd like to know more details.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • principle — prin‧ci‧ple [ˈprɪnspl] noun 1. [countable, uncountable] a moral rule or set of ideas that makes you behave in a particular way: • The single European market works on market principles. • As a matter of principle (= a rule that is very important …   Financial and business terms

  • principle — principle, axiom, fundamental, law, theorem are comparable when they denote a proposition or other formulation stating a fact or a generalization accepted as true and basic. Principle applies to a generalization that provides a basis for… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Principle — Prin ci*ple, n. [F. principe, L. principium beginning, foundation, fr. princeps, cipis. See {Prince}.] 1. Beginning; commencement. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Doubting sad end of principle unsound. Spenser. [1913 Webster] 2. A source, or origin; that… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • principle — I (axiom) noun accepted belief, adage, admitted maxim, article of belief, article of faith, assertion, assurance, basic doctrine, basic law, basic rule, basic truth, belief, canon, conviction, credo, declaration of faith, decretum, doctrine,… …   Law dictionary

  • principle — [prin′sə pəl] n. [ME, altered < MFr principe < L principium: see PRINCIPIUM] 1. the ultimate source, origin, or cause of something 2. a natural or original tendency, faculty, or endowment 3. a fundamental truth, law, doctrine, or motivating …   English World dictionary

  • principle — ► NOUN 1) a fundamental truth or proposition serving as the foundation for belief or action. 2) a rule or belief governing one s personal behaviour. 3) morally correct behaviour and attitudes. 4) a general scientific theorem or natural law. 5) a… …   English terms dictionary

  • principle — late 14c., fundamental truth or proposition, from Anglo Fr. principle, O.Fr. principe, from L. principium (plural principia) a beginning, first part, from princeps (see PRINCE (Cf. prince)). Meaning origin, source is attested from early 15c.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • principle — [n1] law, standard assumption, axiom, basis, canon, convention, criterion, dictum, doctrine, dogma, ethic, form, formula, foundation, fundamental, golden rule*, ground, maxim, origin, postulate, precept, prescript, principium, proposition,… …   New thesaurus

  • Principle — Prin ci*ple, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Principled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Principling}.] To equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet, or rule of conduct, good or ill. [1913 Webster] Governors should be… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • principle — /prin seuh peuhl/, n. 1. an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct: a person of good moral principles. 2. a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived: the principles of modern physics. 3. a fundamental… …   Universalium

  • principle — noun 1 basic general rule ADJECTIVE ▪ basic, broad, central, fundamental, general, underlying ▪ the basic principles of car maintenance ▪ b …   Collocations dictionary