principle Definition

  • 1a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning
  • 2a rule or belief governing one's personal behavior

Using principle: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "principle" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The principle of democracy is based on the idea of popular sovereignty.

  • Example

    She refused to compromise her principles.

  • Example

    The company operates on the principle of sustainable development.

  • Example

    He has always been a man of principle.

principle Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for principle

Antonyms for principle

Idioms Using principle

  • based on a rule or belief that one considers important, even if it causes difficulty or inconvenience


    She refused to work for a tobacco company on principle, because she believed it was harmful to people's health.

  • stick to one's principles

    to remain committed to one's beliefs or values, even in difficult or challenging circumstances


    Despite pressure from his colleagues, he stuck to his principles and refused to compromise his integrity.

  • a physical law that states that the path taken by a system between two points in space and time is the path that minimizes the action, which is a mathematical function that describes the system's behavior


    The principle of least action is used to derive the equations of motion for particles and fields in physics.

Phrases with principle

  • a basic assumption or concept that cannot be deduced from any other assumption or concept


    The first principle of geometry is that two points determine a straight line.

  • the practice of interpreting someone's words or actions in the most favorable way possible, given the context and available information


    The principle of charity requires us to assume that our opponents are arguing in good faith.

  • a principle that relates to right and wrong conduct, especially in terms of how it affects others


    The moral principle of 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' is found in many religions.

Origins of principle

from Old French 'principe', from Latin 'principium', meaning 'beginning, source, first principle'


Summary: principle in Brief

The term 'principle' [ˈprɪnsəpl] refers to a fundamental truth or belief that serves as the foundation for a system of thought or behavior. It can also refer to a rule or belief governing one's personal conduct. Examples include 'The principle of democracy is based on the idea of popular sovereignty,' and 'She refused to compromise her principles.' Idioms like 'on principle' denote actions taken based on a rule or belief, while 'stick to one's principles' means to remain committed to one's values despite challenges.

How do native speakers use this expression?