[ prin-suh-puhl ]
/ ˈprɪn sə pəl /


Idioms for principle

    in principle, in essence or substance; fundamentally: to accept a plan in principle.
    on principle,
    1. according to personal rules for right conduct; as a matter of moral principle: He refused on principle to agree to the terms of the treaty.
    2. according to a fixed rule, method, or practice: He drank hot milk every night on principle.

Origin of principle

1350–1400; Middle English, alteration of Middle French principe or Latin prīncipium, on the analogy of manciple. See principium

synonym study for principle

1–3. Principle, canon, rule imply something established as a standard or test, for measuring, regulating, or guiding conduct or practice. A principle is a general and fundamental truth that may be used in deciding conduct or choice: to adhere to principle. Canon, originally referring to an edict of the Church (a meaning that it still retains), is used of any principle, law, or critical standard that is officially approved, particularly in aesthetics and scholarship: canons of literary criticism. A rule, usually something adopted or enacted, is often the specific application of a principle: the golden rule.

usage note for principle

See principal.


principal principle (see usage note at principal) (see synonym study at the current entry)

Example sentences from the Web for principles

British Dictionary definitions for principles (1 of 2)

/ (ˈprɪnsɪpəl) /


Christian Science another word for God

British Dictionary definitions for principles (2 of 2)

/ (ˈprɪnsɪpəl) /


Word Origin for principle

C14: from Latin principium beginning, basic tenet

usage for principle

Principle and principal are often confused: the principal (not principle) reason for his departure; the plan was approved in principle (not in principal)

Medical definitions for principles

[ prĭnsə-pəl ]


A basic truth, law, or assumption.
A rule or law concerning the functioning of natural phenomena or mechanical processes.
One of the elements composing a chemical compound, especially one that gives some special quality or effect.
The essential ingredient in a drug.

Idioms and Phrases with principles


see in principle; on principle.