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principle

prin·ci·ple / ˈprinsəpəl/ • n. 1. a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning: the basic principles of Christianity. ∎  (usu. principles) a rule or belief governing one's personal behavior: struggling to be true to their own principles| she resigned over a matter of principle. ∎  morally correct behavior and attitudes: a man of principle. ∎  a general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field. ∎  a natural law forming the basis for the construction or working of a machine: these machines all operate on the same general principle. 2. a fundamental source or basis of something: the first principle of all things was water. ∎  a fundamental quality or attribute determining the nature of something; an essence: the combination of male and female principles. ∎  Chem. an active or characteristic constituent of a substance, obtained by simple analysis or separation: the active principle in the medulla is epinephrine. PHRASES: in principle as a general idea or plan, although the details are not yet established or clear: the government agreed in principle to a peace plan that included a cease-fire. ∎  used to indicate that although something is theoretically possible, it may not actually happen: in principle, the banks are entitled to withdraw these loans when necessary. on principle because of or in order to demonstrate one's adherence to a particular belief: he refused, on principle, to pay the fine.

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principle

principle † origin, source; fundamental source, quality, truth, etc. XIV; general law or rule XVI (of nature XIX); (elementary) constituent XVII. — AN. *principle, var. of (O)F. principe — L. principium beginning, source, (pl.) foundations, elements, f. princeps, princip-, first; see PRINCE.

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Principle

PRINCIPLE

A fundamental, well-settledrule of law. A basic truth or undisputed legal doctrine; a given legal proposition that is clear and does not need to be proved.

A principle provides a foundation for the development of other laws and regulations.

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principle

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