• IPA: /ˈpɹɪnsɪpəl/, /ˈpɹɪnsəpəl/

principle (plural principles)

  1. A fundamental assumption or guiding belief.
    • Let us consider ‘my dog is asleep on the floor’ again. Frege thinks that this sentence can be analyzed in various different ways. Instead of treating it as expressing the application of is asleep on the floor to my dog, we can think of it as expressing the application of the concept
           my dog is asleep on
      to the object
           the floor
      (see Frege 1919). Frege recognizes what is now a commonplace in the logical analysis of natural language. We can attribute more than one logical form to a single sentence. Let us call this the principle of multiple analyses. Frege does not claim that the principle always holds, but as we shall see, modern type theory does claim this.
    We need some sort of principles to reason from.
  2. 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. (sometimes, pluralized) Moral rule or aspect.
    I don't doubt your principles.
    You are clearly a person of principle.
    It's the principle of the thing; I won't do business with someone I can't trust.
  4. (physics) A rule or law of nature, or the basic idea on how the laws of nature are applied.
    Bernoulli's Principle
    The Pauli Exclusion Principle prevents two fermions from occupying the same state.
    The principle of the internal combustion engine
  5. A fundamental essence, particularly one producing a given quality.
    • Cathartine is the bitter, purgative principle of senna.
    Many believe that life is the result of some vital principle.
  6. (obsolete) A beginning.
    • Doubting sad end of principle unsound.
  7. 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.
  8. An original faculty or endowment.
    • those active principles whose direct and ultimate object is the communication either of enjoyment or suffering
  • (moral rule or aspect) tenet
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

principle (principles, present participle principling; past and past participle principled)

  1. (transitive) To equip with principles; to establish, or fix, in certain principles; to impress with any tenet or rule of conduct.
    • Governors should be well principled.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], chapter 4, in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. […], London: […] Thomas Basset, […], OCLC 153628242 ↗, book I, page 20 ↗:
      Let an enthusiast be principled that he or his teacher is inspired.

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