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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a basic principle
▪ The basic principles underlying all the systems are the same.
a moral standard/principle
▪ Has there been a decline in moral standards in our society?
adhere to...principles
▪ We adhere to the principles of equal rights and freedom of expression for all.
adherence to democratic principles
against...principles (=I do not believe it is right)
▪ It’s against my principles to borrow money .
an underlying principle
▪ Their actions, he argued, went against the underlying principles of Christian morality.
compromise your principles
▪ The government says the plans will not compromise its environmental principles.
fundamental principles (=moral rules or beliefs about what is right and wrong)
▪ Let me state a couple of fundamental principles which we value highly.
high moral principles
▪ a man of high moral principles
KISS principle
stick to your decision/principles etc
▪ Miguel was determined to stick to his decision.
the principles of the constitution (=the ideas and aims that it is based on)
▪ the guiding legal principles of the constitution
▪ The author focuses in on very basic principles, which makes this book easy to read, even by first time users.
▪ The basic principle of diversity of media ownership and freedom of entry should serve as an essential guideline for national media policy.
▪ Has this neglect of basic business principles destroyed the credibility of all online business ventures?
▪ It does, however, present the basic legal principles surrounding the creation and termination of teaching contracts.
▪ The basic principles set out in this Code will apply whether or not the lending in question is secured.
▪ In addition, through these lessons, students become familiar with basic principles of science.
▪ However, the basic structural principle remains, and the primary constituents are present: air, humus, bacteria and moisture.
▪ The basic principle behind all the various systems is that of the x, y co-ordinate.
▪ Certainly there may be situations and organizations for which the democratic principle is inappropriate.
▪ The democratic principle is one person one vote, as is the principle of statistical analysis.
▪ Young people have not been taught any democratic principles or told about the constitution.
▪ Is it the best that can be achieved, the nearest practicable approximation to the democratic principle?
▪ Make this point firmly, because the idea of anxiety-reduction with repeated exposure is one of the fundamental principles of the course.
▪ Who had persuaded the other to defect, to betray his fundamental principles in the name of personal loyalty?
▪ The female nude has been conceived as an expression of fundamental principles of order and design.
▪ A fundamental principle of treatment is to first diagnose the cause of the hypophosphatemia.
▪ Again, the fundamental principles of the peer group would not be compromised if monitoring roles were rotated.
▪ Netanyahu, on the other hand, has been struggling with the fundamental principles of accords he has long opposed.
▪ The pleasure principle would then be seen as one form of the more fundamental Nirvana principle.
▪ Doesn't that imply a belief in intrinsic essences that is in direct contradiction with the fundamental principles of existentialism?
▪ A number of well-established general principles were accepted as regulating precedence.
▪ In general the principles depend on cleanliness and appropriateness of animals to their habitats.
▪ This book is based on the view that the general principles of judicial review of administrative action are worth studying.
▪ As a general principle, hasty legislation does more harm than good.
▪ It will also seek to establish any general principles connected with successful schemes of joint consultation.
▪ What we can do is understand some of the general principles of how living things work, and why they exist at all.
▪ Several applications of this general principle will be found in the ensuing chapters.
▪ Beneath the law of involuntary manslaughter lie some deep issues of general principle.
▪ That principle is the guiding principle in the assessment of damages in personal injuries cases.
▪ The guiding principles then of etymology and precedent would not be acceptable today.
▪ They are the guiding principle in his life and work and must be clearly visible in any evaluation.
▪ It is guiding principle, abiding truth.
▪ The guiding principle is that our minds are more active when we view with a purpose.
▪ Our guiding principle remains our commitment to the Total Quality Management process.
▪ But it is to suggest that an image of perennial conflict between science and religion is inappropriate as a guiding principle.
▪ Some guiding principles are beyond doubt.
▪ The most important of these principles are briefly set out below.
▪ Though there is no record of this power being exercised, this is an important amendment of principle.
▪ But even if the proposals prove sufficiently acceptable, important questions of principle will remain unresolved.
▪ This is an important principle when moving together on steep snow.
▪ The governing body's decision was guided by three very important considerations: principle, existing practice, and time.
▪ These immigration laws established two important principles of future immigration policy.
▪ It was an important principle that these housing schemes should pay their way.
▪ In structure drills as well as in pronunciation drills there is one important principle: drill one thing at a time.
▪ The process by which legal principles are established is pre-eminently political.
▪ It does, however, present the basic legal principles surrounding the creation and termination of teaching contracts.
▪ Where matters of law and equity conflict, the principle of equity applicable prevails over the legal principle in the case.
▪ The legal principles that apply to teachers whose negligence causes injury are the same as those that apply to anyone else.
▪ Having said that, most cases turn on their facts and not on points of legal principle.
▪ First, the Court outlined the legal principles to be applied.
▪ In no case has the legal principle been sacrificed to a thoughtful new policy on criminal justice.
▪ In resolving these conflicts, the courts establish legal principles that apply to similar cases.
▪ A sanitary code which sought to evade fundamental moral principles could never ultimately succeed.
▪ Two, can you come up with some moral principle, some ethical issue that is so important it justifies deception?
▪ To some there may be occasion to place a moral principle above a legal one.
▪ Her work, and her person, came to symbolize the moral and intellectual principles on which the open admissions experiment rested.
▪ I do not think that we should be against such moral principles.
▪ They would rather get beaten on their moral principles and convictions than be corrupted by political deals.
▪ There is no single moral principle which is sole and supreme and can never conflict with any other.
▪ By the mid-nineties, many adolescents had no answer when asked what moral principles might apply to a particular circumstance.
▪ After this encounter Einstein gave up his specific attempts to undermine the uncertainty principle.
▪ It has been noted that the quantum limit has its origin in the following expression of the uncertainty principle.
▪ Real togetherness Einstein licked his wounds after his long drawn out battle with Bohr about the uncertainty principle.
▪ The Heisenberg uncertainty principle tells us that.
▪ Einstein's general relativity is what is called a classical theory; that is, it does not incorporate the uncertainty principle.
▪ One therefore has to find a new theory that combines general relativity with the uncertainty principle.
▪ The human brain, however, is also subject to the uncertainty principle.
▪ The effects of the uncertainty principle will then become very important and seem to point to some remarkable results.
▪ That episcopal ordination made one a member of the episcopal college was accepted in principle by the second session.
▪ Under generally accepted accounting principles, companies may use straight-line or one of the accelerated methods of depreciation for financial accounting purposes.
▪ The term generally accepted accounting principles is somewhat debatable in the field of financial accounting.
▪ Once Asquith had accepted the principle of state-financed pensions he had to decide to whom they should be paid.
▪ To his great credit, he persuaded the brewery companies to accept the principle of independent arbitration.
▪ He has accepted it in principle, which does him great credit.
▪ Councillors yesterday accepted the idea in principle after a presentation by Homesmith.
▪ No doubt both men, as supporters of the Gothic Revival, expected Scott to adhere to his stated principles.
▪ We adhere to this principle for two reasons.
▪ Finally, they adhered to the principle of Contrast in distinguishing less from more.
▪ Whether or not we agree with the principles or validity of church laws and rules, many of our clients will accept them.
▪ I had to agree with him in principle.
▪ We have often found people will nod and agree to the principles but never put them into practice.
▪ Within a week they had agreed, in principle, to be partners.
▪ Whether Curran and Seaton would agree with the principles that lie behind the above proposals is very doubtful.
▪ General Mladic had also agreed in principle to open a corridor to Cerska.
▪ The cessation of hostilities was agreed in principle.
▪ If magistrates no longer apply the natural principles of justice, it is a bad day for our law.
▪ We applied the same principles that would apply to these securities regardless of who issued them.
▪ In short, you will he required to apply the principles of thinking on a regular and systematic basis.
▪ This chapter examines how the courts have applied these principles in cases involving teachers.
▪ Best execution will also apply in principle to agency and other fiduciary transactions for non-private customers.
▪ The same applies to the other principles.
▪ So far, legislation has been passed to apply this principle only to packaging.
▪ Manovich is confident he can apply the same sales principles for computers to software.
▪ Community-policing arrangements Community policing is based on the principle of a working partnership between the police and local community.
▪ But Aristotle did not conceive of natural laws based on mathematical principles.
▪ Safrane's front and rear suspension are based on the MacPherson principle and benefit from programmed movement.
▪ Around 25 experimental Aids vaccines based on this principle are on trial globally.
▪ It was based upon two principles: 1.
▪ Alter all, citation indexes are based on that principle.
▪ Lithography a printing process based on the principle of the natural aversion of water to grease.
▪ They can do this by establishing clear guiding principles against which all actions need to be evaluated.
▪ Quintilian was one who credited Zeuxis with having established painterly principles of light and shade.
▪ The convention establishes the principle that nothing that is harmful to human health and marine life can be dumped at sea.
▪ In resolving these conflicts, the courts establish legal principles that apply to similar cases.
▪ The research nurses are establishing the principle that the rigid compartments of the medical profession are not as watertight as they appear.
▪ Although not intransigent, Wash was clearly uneasy about the specific link with Bedfordshire as the precedent to establish a principle.
▪ As some observers noted, the new regulation establishes the principle that environmental concerns take precedence over commercial arguments.
▪ It will also seek to establish any general principles connected with successful schemes of joint consultation.
▪ This follows the same principles as a tin-streaming operation.
▪ Surprisingly, the language problems produced by other forms of damage do not necessarily follow these principles derived from stroke patients.
▪ The companies that follow this principle often don't shout about it, but they are easy to recognise.
▪ Bormann followed the simple principle of always remaining in the closest proximity to the source of all grace and favor.
▪ But how mud is used will differ from one climate to another, following the cardinal principle of traditional architecture.
▪ Again, President Herrera had not insisted on the death penalty but had followed a principle of justice tempered with mercy.
▪ This follows the same principles as the Crown Scheme but for self-catering accommodation.
▪ His presidency lacked an over-arching theme or a guiding principle.
▪ Although controversies still abound, there are some guiding principles for the conduct of daily schooling.
▪ The group's approach was guided by two principles.
▪ If that was the guiding principle of Salomon Brothers in the department of customer relations, then all was suddenly clear.
▪ He brought starkly into question all the guiding principles on which the Soviet system was based.
▪ Almost all Davidson products work on the guiding principle that education comes easier if disguised as a game.
▪ They take as their guiding principle that they will safeguard this right. 37.
▪ Considering the views of those proven achievers helps drive an even greater wedge between centralization and decentralization as a guiding organizational principle.
▪ She was not to know that Tina, sticking to her principles, had long ago slept with her cousin Jarvis.
▪ But we have to stick to our principles.
▪ What a revolution there would be in our behaviour and attitudes if we were to stick to those two principles!
▪ Nizan stuck to his principles, but after 1939 he became a political refugee.
▪ Eddi Reader is one who sticks to the principles established in her old band Fairground Attraction.
▪ On receiving the petition demanding Outram's resignation they stuck to the principle of laissez-faire.
▪ Had I stuck to my principles or had I simply followed orders?
▪ May we come to respect ourselves for sticking to our principles and living our lives with honesty and integrity.
▪ All nurses must understand the principles involved in order to safeguard patients.
▪ It is helpful therefore to look at the pre-1991 case law to understand how the welfare principle operates in practice.
▪ However, it is necessary to understand the principles of remote sensing in order to make intelligent and informed use of remotely-sensed data.
▪ In order to do this, we have to employ a method of understanding rooted in scientific principles that are universally accepted.
▪ Ramsey thought it a protection against wrongful ceremony to understand its principles.
▪ We can begin to understand this vital principle when we reflect on how we have been emotionally wounded in the past.
▪ You need to understand tides and principles of navigation.
be a matter of principle
▪ Dessert is a matter of principle here.
▪ First, there are matters of principle.
▪ It seemed, as much as anything, to be a matter of principle.
▪ It was a matter of principle.
▪ They might have gone higher but this is a matter of principle.
betray your beliefs/principles/ideals etc
governing principle
▪ Freedom of speech for all is one of the governing principles in a democracy.
▪ But the same three macro-functions are the governing principles of stylistic choice in both literary and non-literary language.
▪ Complex protocol demanded that Court dress conform to a set of governing principles.
▪ Just as a ship needs a captain, so too does the individual need a governing principle.
guiding principle
▪ Although controversies still abound, there are some guiding principles for the conduct of daily schooling.
▪ Competition, time-serving, jockeying for advantage, and avoiding blame were the new guiding principles.
▪ His presidency lacked an over-arching theme or a guiding principle.
▪ Prudence would be the guiding principle.
▪ That principle is the guiding principle in the assessment of damages in personal injuries cases.
▪ The guiding principle of the Okapi research is that the system must adapt itself to the user rather than the converse.
▪ They can do this by establishing clear guiding principles against which all actions need to be evaluated.
▪ They take as their guiding principle that they will safeguard this right. 37.
high principles/ideals
▪ He believed genuinely in high principles and aims even if he was not yet assured of a sense of perspective.
▪ Henry Lunn, one of the major figures of the early days of organized travel, was also inspired by high ideals.
▪ Her virginity is one of the highest ideals in Catholicism.
▪ The war, the president insists, is about higher principles than control of a grubby liquid in the ground.
▪ They put short-term expediency and selfish interest before the application of high principles.
▪ Though it created problems in times of political crisis, it was the price one had to pay for pursuing high ideals.
▪ What we worship these days is financial success, as though it automatically confers high principles and admirable character.
the KISS principle
true to your word/principles etc
▪ A man true to his word.
▪ But true to his word, before I left, my uncle gave me help.
▪ Jim, true to his word, may be the man to fix it after all.
▪ Otto had been true to his word and left out for me a pair of boy's shorts.
▪ The captain was true to his word.
▪ The Characters A young girl: Lazy but true to her word.
▪ We have been true to our word and true to our mission because of your skill and professionalism.
underlying cause/principle/problem etc
work on the principle/assumption/basis etc that
▪ Gamekeepers worked on the principle that any other animals that preyed on pheasants must be ruthlessly eliminated.
▪ It works on the assumption that each side is willing to move from its starting point during the negotiations.
▪ It works on the principle that the pursuer will not be able to change direction as efficiently as the prey.
▪ Politicians seem to work on the assumption that the early bird catches the voter.
▪ The therapy works on the principle that like cures like.
▪ These devices work on the principle that the oscillating frequency of a crystal under an applied voltage changes with crystal mass.
▪ They work on the principle that most people pay up if they're pestered for long enough.
▪ When a crime is reported to the police they do not work on the assumption that anyone could have done it.
▪ He'll do anything to make money. The man has no principles.
▪ The principles governing the world of physics are unchanging.
▪ However that may be, let us look at Moore's principle at work in one of his examples.
▪ I have structured the book to give you a similar experience, particularly with respect to the ten new management principles.
▪ In principle, a planning authority can only grant what is actually applied for or a part of it.
▪ In this way, the principle of induction is justified.
▪ Might it then be that the preserving of two viable copies is what is impossible in principle?
▪ That episcopal ordination made one a member of the episcopal college was accepted in principle by the second session.
▪ The general rule, as above stated, seems on principle just.
▪ The latter are intended to offer a set of principles providing the best solutions to typical problems in contract law.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

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.

Governors should be well principled.

Let an enthusiast be principled that he or his teacher is inspired.


Principle \Prin"ci*ple\, n. [F. principe, L. principium beginning, foundation, fr. princeps, -cipis. See Prince.]

  1. Beginning; commencement. [Obs.]

    Doubting sad end of principle unsound.

  2. A source, or origin; that from which anything proceeds; fundamental substance or energy; primordial substance; ultimate element, or cause.

    The soul of man is an active principle.

  3. An original faculty or endowment.

    Nature in your principles hath set [benignity].

    Those active principles whose direct and ultimate object is the communication either of enjoyment or suffering.

  4. A fundamental truth; a comprehensive law or doctrine, from which others are derived, or on which others are founded; a general truth; an elementary proposition; a maxim; an axiom; a postulate.

    Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.
    --Heb. vi. 1.

    A good principle, not rightly understood, may prove as hurtful as a bad.

  5. A settled rule of action; a governing law of conduct; an opinion or belief which exercises a directing influence on the life and behavior; a rule (usually, a right rule) of conduct consistently directing one's actions; as, a person of no principle.

    All kinds of dishonesty destroy our pretenses to an honest principle of mind.

  6. (Chem.) Any original inherent constituent which characterizes a substance, or gives it its essential properties, and which can usually be separated by analysis; -- applied especially to drugs, plant extracts, etc.

    Cathartine is the bitter, purgative principle of senna.

    Bitter principle, Principle of contradiction, etc. See under Bitter, Contradiction, etc.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "origin, source, beginning; rule of conduct; axiom, basic assumption; elemental aspect of a craft or discipline," from Anglo-French principle, Old French principe "origin, cause, principle," from Latin principium (plural principia) "a beginning, commencement, origin, first part," in plural "foundation, elements," from princeps (see prince). Used absolutely for (good or moral) principle from 1650s.It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. [Adlai Stevenson, speech, New York City, Aug. 27, 1952]\nScientific sense of "general law of nature" is recorded from 1802. The English -l- apparently is by analogy of participle, etc.


n. A fundamental assumption. vb. (context transitive English) To equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet or rule of conduct.

  1. n. a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct; "their principles of composition characterized all their works" [syn: rule]

  2. a rule or standard especially of good behavior; "a man of principle"; "he will not violate his principles"

  3. a basic truth or law or assumption; "the principles of democracy"

  4. a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system; "the principle of the conservation of mass"; "the principle of jet propulsion"; "the right-hand rule for inductive fields" [syn: rule]

  5. rule of personal conduct [syn: precept]

  6. (law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons (especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature); "the rationale for capital punishment"; "the principles of internal-combustion engines" [syn: rationale]


A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting system's designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of which would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored.

Examples of principles are descriptive comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption, the normative rule or code of conduct, and the law or fact of nature underlying the working of an artificial device.

Principle (disambiguation)

A principle is a law or rule.

Principle may also refer to:

  • Principle (chemistry), a constituent of a substance
  • Principle Pictures, U.S.-American documentary film company
  • The Principle, term for polygamy used by some modern-day splinter groups within the Latter Day Saint movement; see Mormonism and polygamy
  • The Principle, 2014 documentary film
  • Principle, or value (personal and cultural)
  • Principle in principles and parameters
  • Principles (retailer)
Principle (chemistry)

In modern chemistry, principles are the constituents of a substance, specifically those that produce a certain quality or effect in the substance, such as a bitter principle, which is any one of the numerous compounds having a bitter taste.

The idea of chemical principles developed out of the classical elements. Paracelsus identified the tria prima as principles in his approach to medicine.

Georg Ernst Stahl published Philosophical Principles of Universal Chemistry in 1730 as an early effort to distinguish between mixtures and compounds. He writes, "the simple are Principles, or the first material causes of Mixts;..." To define a Principle, he wrote

A Principle is defined, à priori, that in a mix’d matter, which first existed; and a posteriori, that into which it is at last resolved. (...) chemical Principles are called Salt, Sulfur and Mercury (...) or Salt, Oil, and Spirit.

Stahl recounts theories of chemical principles according to Helmont and J. J. Becher. He says Helmont took Water to be the "first and only material Principle of all things." According to Becher, Water and Earth are principles, where Earth is distinguished into three kinds. Stahl also ascribes to Earth the "principle of rest and aggregation."

Historians have described how early analysts used Principles to classify substances:

The classification of substances varies from one author to the next, but it generally relied on tests to which to which materials could be submitted or procedures that could be applied to them. "Test" must be understood here in a double sense, experimental and moral: gold was considered noble because it resisted fire, humidity, and being buried underground. Camphor, like sulfur, arsenic, mercury, and ammonia, belonged to the "spirits" because it was volatile. Glass belonged among the metals because, like them, it could be melted. And since the seven known metals – gold, silver, iron, copper, tin, lead, and mercury – were characterized by their capacity to be melted, what made a metal a metal was defined by reference to the only metal that was liquid at room temperature, mercury or quicksilver. But "common" mercury differed from the mercuric principle, which was cold and wet. Like all other metals, it involved another "principle", which was hot and dry, sulfur.

Guillaume-Francois Rouelle "attributed two functions to principles: that of forming mixts and that of being an agent or instrument of chemical principles."

Thus the four principles, earth, air, fire, and water, were principles both of the chemist's operations and of the mixts they operated upon. As instruments they were, unlike specific chemical reagents, "natural and general," always at work in every chemical operation. As constituent elements, they did not contradict the chemistry of displacement but transcended it: the chemist could never isolate or characterize an element as he characterized a body; an element was not isolable, for it could not be separated from a mixt without re-creating a new mixt in the process.

In his book The Sceptical Chymist of 1661, Robert Boyle criticized the traditional understanding of the composition of materials and initiated the modern understanding of chemical elements.

Usage examples of "principle".

It cannot be truly international unless it accords to its affiliated bodies full freedom in matters of policy and forms of struggle on the basis of such program and principles, so that the Socialists of each country may work out their problems in the light of their own peculiar economic, political and social conditions as well as the historic traditions.

Soul is allotted its fortunes, and not at haphazard but always under a Reason: it adapts itself to the fortunes assigned to it, attunes itself, ranges itself rightly to the drama, to the whole Principle of the piece: then it speaks out its business, exhibiting at the same time all that a Soul can express of its own quality, as a singer in a song.

The light of our world can be allocated because it springs from a corporeal mass of known position, but conceive an immaterial entity, independent of body as being of earlier nature than all body, a nature firmly self-based or, better, without need of base: such a principle, incorporeal, autonomous, having no source for its rising, coming from no place, attached to no material mass, this cannot be allotted part here and part there: that would be to give it both a previous position and a present attachment.

All this is left out of his history, and in nowise alluded to by him, so far as I can remember, save once, when he makes a remark, that upon his principle the Supreme Court were authorized to pronounce a decision that the act called the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional.

But how, it may be asked, can any analogous principle apply in nature?

But satire often possesses an anarchic force that may undercut the principles that nationalism establishes.

THE CLEAREST INDICATION that the search for an unmerited privileged position for humans will never be wholly abandoned is what in physics and astronomy is called the Anthropic Principle.

Until that time comes, if it ever does, it seems to me premature to put faith in the Anthropic Principle as an argument for human centrality or uniqueness.

Rather than being the epitome of poetic grace in which everything fits together with inflexible elegance, the multiverse and the anthropic principle paint a picture of a wildly excessive collection of universes with an insatiable appetite for variety.

Theory permits its information to be available in that universewhich would become parallel to thisand the information would provide for the development of the anthropic principle.

In fact, the act may pretty much be necessary for a universe where the anthropic principle obtains.

Why the universe is put together in such a way that it has been called The Symbiotic Universe, and how the apparently amazing universal coincidences leading to the formulation of this Anthropic Principle have actually come into existence.

The divine sanction, which the Apostle had bestowed on the fundamental principle of the theology of Plato, encouraged the learned proselytes of the second and third centuries to admire and study the writings of the Athenian sage, who had thus marvellously anticipated one of the most surprising discoveries of the Christian revelation.

It may be de rigueur in academic circles to moan about the myth of Sisyphus and the pointless futility of human existence, but such an attitude is antithetical to the principles of science fiction.

Sisyphus and the pointless futility of human existence, but such an attitude is antithetical to the principles of science fiction.