What does principle mean?

Definitions for principle
ˈprɪn sə pəlprin·ci·ple

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word principle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. principle, rule(noun)

    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"

  2. principle(noun)

    a rule or standard especially of good behavior

    "a man of principle"; "he will not violate his principles"

  3. principle(noun)

    a basic truth or law or assumption

    "the principles of democracy"

  4. principle, rule(noun)

    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"

  5. principle, precept(noun)

    rule of personal conduct

  6. rationale, principle(noun)

    (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"


  1. principle(Noun)

    A fundamental assumption.

    We need some sort of principles to reason from.

  2. principle(Noun)

    A rule used to choose among solutions to a problem.

    The principle of least privilege holds that a process should only receive the permissions it needs.

  3. principle(Noun)

    Moral rule or aspect.

  4. principle(Noun)

    A rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.

  5. principle(Noun)

    A fundamental essence, particularly one producing a given quality.

  6. principle(Noun)

    A beginning.

    Doubting sad end of principle unsound. uE000115793uE001 Spenser.

  7. Origin: From principe, from principium, from princeps; see prince.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Principle(noun)

    beginning; commencement

  2. Principle(noun)

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

  3. Principle(noun)

    an original faculty or endowment

  4. Principle(noun)

    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

  5. Principle(noun)

    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

  6. Principle(noun)

    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

  7. Principle(verb)

    to equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet, or rule of conduct, good or ill

  8. Origin: [F. principe, L. principium beginning, foundation, fr. princeps, -cipis. See Prince.]


  1. Principle

    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: ⁕a descriptive comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption, ⁕a normative rule or code of conduct, ⁕a law or fact of nature underlying the working of an artificial device.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Principle

    prin′si-pl, n. a fundamental truth on which others are founded or from which they spring: a law or doctrine from which others are derived: an original faculty of the mind: a settled rule of action: (chem.) a constituent part: (obs.) a beginning.—v.t. to establish in principles: to impress with a doctrine.—adj. Prin′cipled, holding certain principles.—Principle of contradiction, the logical principle that a thing cannot both be and not be; Principle of excluded middle (logic), the principle that a thing must be either one thing or its contradictory; Principle of sufficient reason (see Reason).—First principle, a very general principle not deducible from others. [L. principium, beginning—princeps.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. principle

    1. Bait. 2. A formula for doing a thing that, unformulated, would land the doer in jail. (Must not be confused with the word _principal_. Both words are used correctly in the following sentence: One may live one's life without principle, but not without principal. Or, again, Principle is sometimes principal; but principal has no principle. Or, The principal was never paid on principle.)

Editors Contribution

  1. principle

    The part of a monthly mortgage payment that reduces the balance of a mortgage.

    Depending on the type of mortgage people have, the principle reduces the mortgage amount each month.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 22, 2015  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'principle' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1242

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'principle' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1908

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'principle' in Nouns Frequency: #303

How to pronounce principle?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say principle in sign language?

  1. principle


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of principle in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of principle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of principle in a Sentence

  1. Sandy Cairncross:

    It's a clever idea in principle.

  2. Benjamin Disraeli:

    A precedent embalms a principle.

  3. Tunisian Defence Minister Farhat Harchani:

    We agree on the principle of the project.

  4. Walter Savage Landor:

    We talk on principle, but we act on interest.

  5. James Webb:

    Where principle is involved, be deaf to expediency.

Images & Illustrations of principle

  1. principleprincipleprincipleprincipleprinciple

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Translations for principle

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"principle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 21 Nov. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/principle>.

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