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Definition of "principle" []

  • A basic truth, law, or assumption: the principles of democracy. (noun)
  • A rule or standard, especially of good behavior: a man of principle. (noun)
  • The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: a decision based on principle rather than expediency. (noun)
  • A fixed or predetermined policy or mode of action. (noun)
  • A basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior: the principle of self-preservation. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "principle" in a sentence
  • "Douglas sometimes says that all the States (and it is part of this same proposition I have been discussing) that have become free have become so upon his “great principle; ” that the State of Illinois itself came into the Union as a Slave State, and that the people, upon the “great principle” of Popular Sovereignty, have since made it a Free State."
  • "However, the key difference in principle is whether the people ` s liberty should be sacrificed to this end (despite scant evidence it provides the means)."
  • "And I commented before that all the practical objections you raise are right, and any kind of "pure" national consumption tax of the sort I am discussing in principle is impossible in practice."