W1S3 [ˈprınsıpəl] n
1¦(moral rule)¦
2¦(idea behind something)¦
3 in principle
4¦(rules of a process)¦
[Date: 1300-1400; : French; Origin: principe, from Latin principium 'beginning', from princeps; PRINCE]
1.) ¦(MORAL RULE)¦ [U and C]
a moral rule or belief about what is right and wrong, that influences how you behave
Schools try to teach children a set of principles .
He prided himself on his high moral principles (=strong ideas about how it is right or wrong to behave)
He's got no principles at all!
He refused to give me any more money as a matter of principle .
against sb's principles
It's against my principles to accept gifts from clients.
man/woman of principle
(=a man or woman with strong moral ideas)
He considered himself to be a man of principle.
the basic idea that a plan or system is based on
The general principle is that education should be available to all children up to the age of 16.
basic/fundamental/guiding principle
the basic principles of business management
principle of
the principles of French law
principle that
Reflexology is based on the principle that specific areas on the feet correspond to different parts of the body.
on a principle
The project worked on the principle that each person's experience was equally valuable.
principle behind
the principles behind government policies
He called for a return to first principles (=the most important ideas) of road safety for children.
Similar principles apply in the case of older children (=the principles are the same as others that have been mentioned) .
3.) 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, the new software should make the accounting system a lot simpler.
b) if you agree to something in principle, you agree about a general plan or idea but have not yet considered the details
They have accepted the idea in principle.
The government has agreed in principle to a referendum.
a rule which explains the way something such as a machine works, or which explains a natural force in the universe
Archimedes' principle
principle of
the basic principles of physics
Do not confuse the noun principle (=a basic rule) with the noun and adjective principal , which have the same pronunciation but different meanings.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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

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  • 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