Definition of Principle

n.1.Beginning; commencement.
Doubting sad end of principle unsound.
- Spenser.
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.
- Tillotson.
3.An original faculty or endowment.
Nature in your principles hath set [benignity].
- Chaucer.
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.
- Milton.
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.
- Law.
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.
- Gregory.
Bitter principle
etc. See under Bitter, Contradiction, etc.
v. t.1.To equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet, or rule of conduct, good or ill.
[imp. & p. p. Principled ; p. pr. & vb. n. Principling .]
Governors should be well principled.
- L'Estrange.
Let an enthusiast be principled that he or his teacher is inspired.
- Locke.

Related Words

Procrustean law, a belief, a priori truth, activity, ambition, antecedents, article of faith, aspiration, at bottom, attitude, base, basement, basically, basis, bearing wall, bed, bedding, bedrock, belief, brocard, call, calling, campaign, canon, causation, cause, cause and effect, center, code, commandment, commitment, conscience, consideration, convention, core, credo, creed, criterion, crusade, determinant, determinative, dictate, dictum, doctrine, dogma, drive, element, elements, elixir, essence, essential, essentially, ethic, etiology, factor, faith, floor, flooring, flower, focus, fond, footing, form, formality, formulary, foundation, fundament, fundamental, fundamentally, fundamentals, general principle, gist, given, goal, golden rule, grammar, gravamen, great cause, ground, grounds, groundwork, guide, guideline, guiding light, guiding principle, guiding star, hardpan, heart, honesty, hypostasis, idea, ideal, ideally, imperative, in essence, in theory, inner essence, inspiration, integrity, intention, interest, issue, kernel, law of nature, lifework, lodestar, mainspring, marrow, mass movement, matter, meat, mitzvah, model, moral, morality, morals, motive, movement, norm, norma, notion, nub, nucleus, nuts and bolts, occasion, order of nature, ordinance, pavement, philosophy, pith, point of view, postulate, precept, prescribed form, prescription, principium, principles, probity, proposition, quid, quiddity, quintessence, radical, reason, reason for being, riprap, rock bottom, rubric, rudiment, rudiments, sake, sap, score, seat, self-evident truth, sentiment, set form, settled principle, sill, solid ground, solid rock, soul, source, spirit, spring, standard, standing order, stereobate, stimulus, stuff, stylobate, substance, substratum, substruction, substructure, teaching, tenet, terra firma, the nitty-gritty, theorem, theoretically, truism, truth, ulterior motive, underbuilding, undercarriage, undergirding, underpinning, understruction, understructure, universal law, universal truth, uprightness, usage, viewpoint, vocation, working principle, working rule


Principal axes of a quadric
Principal axis
Principal challenge
Principal focus
Principal of a quadric
Principal plane
Principal point
Principal ray
Principal section
Principle of contradiction
Principle of virtual velocities
Principle of vis viva
Print works
Printed goods
Printer's devil
Printer's gauge
Printer's ink
Printer's ream
Printing frame
Printing house
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