Principle
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 from which anything proceeds; fundamental substance or energy; primordial substance; ultimate element, or cause. [1913 Webster]

The soul of man is an active principle. --Tillotson. [1913 Webster]

3. An original faculty or endowment. [1913 Webster]

Nature in your principles hath set [benignity]. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Those active principles whose direct and ultimate object is the communication either of enjoyment or suffering. --Stewart. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. --Heb. vi. 1. [1913 Webster]

A good principle, not rightly understood, may prove as hurtful as a bad. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

All kinds of dishonesty destroy our pretenses to an honest principle of mind. --Law. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Cathartine is the bitter, purgative principle of senna. --Gregory. [1913 Webster]

{Bitter principle}, {Principle of contradiction}, etc. See under {Bitter}, {Contradiction}, etc. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Synonyms:

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  • 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 — 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

  • principle — [n1] law, standard assumption, axiom, basis, canon, convention, criterion, dictum, doctrine, dogma, ethic, form, formula, foundation, fundamental, golden rule*, ground, maxim, origin, postulate, precept, prescript, principium, proposition,… …   New thesaurus

  • 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. [1913 Webster] Governors should be… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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

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