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PRINCIPLE

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does principle mean? 

PRINCIPLE (noun)
  The noun PRINCIPLE has 6 senses:

1. a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct
2. a rule or standard especially of good behavior
3. a basic truth or law or assumption
4. a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system
5. rule of personal conduct
6. (law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons (especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature)

  Familiarity information: PRINCIPLE used as a noun is common.


 Dictionary entry details 


PRINCIPLE (noun)


Sense 1principle [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents

Synonyms:

principle; rule

Context example:

their principles of composition characterized all their works

Hypernyms ("principle" is a kind of...):

generalisation; generality; generalization (an idea or conclusion having general application)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "principle"):

feng shui (rules in Chinese philosophy that govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to patterns of yin and yang and the flow of energy (qi); the favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into consideration in designing and siting buildings and graves and furniture)

yin (the dark negative feminine principle in Chinese dualistic cosmology)

yang (the bright positive masculine principle in Chinese dualistic cosmology)

pillar (a fundamental principle or practice)


Sense 2principle [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A rule or standard especially of good behavior

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents

Context examples:

a man of principle / he will not violate his principles

Hypernyms ("principle" is a kind of...):

value (an ideal accepted by some individual or group)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "principle"):

scruple (an ethical or moral principle that inhibits action)

Orleanism (the political principles of the Orleanists)

judicial doctrine; judicial principle; legal principle ((law) a principle underlying the formulation of jurisprudence)

Hellenism (the principles and ideals associated with classical Greek civilization)

ethic; moral principle; value orientation; value-system (the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group)

chivalry; knightliness (the medieval principles governing knighthood and knightly conduct)

accounting principle; accounting standard (a principle that governs current accounting practice and that is used as a reference to determine the appropriate treatment of complex transactions)


Sense 3principle [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A basic truth or law or assumption

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents

Context example:

the principles of democracy

Hypernyms ("principle" is a kind of...):

law; natural law (a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "principle"):

Tao (the ultimate principle of the universe)

conservation ((physics) the maintenance of a certain quantities unchanged during chemical reactions or physical transformations)

insurrectionism (the principle of revolt against constituted authority)

reality principle ((psychoanalysis) the governing principle of the ego; the principle that as a child grows it becomes aware of the real environment and the need to accommodate to it)

pleasure principle; pleasure-pain principle; pleasure-unpleasure principle ((psychoanalysis) the governing principle of the id; the principle that an infant seeks gratification and fails to distinguish fantasy from reality)

logic (the principles that guide reasoning within a given field or situation)

basic principle; basics; bedrock; fundamental principle; fundamentals (principles from which other truths can be derived)

dictate (a guiding principle)


Sense 4principle [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

A rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents

Synonyms:

principle; rule

Context examples:

the principle of the conservation of mass / the principle of jet propulsion / the right-hand rule for inductive fields

Hypernyms ("principle" is a kind of...):

law; law of nature (a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "principle"):

principle of liquid displacement ((hydrostatics) the volume of a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the volume of the displaced fluid)

Huygens' principle of superposition; principle of superposition (the displacement of any point due to the superposition of wave systems is equal to the sum of the displacements of the individual waves at that point)

principle of superposition; superposition; superposition principle ((geology) the principle that in a series of stratified sedimentary rocks the lowest stratum is the oldest)

mass action; mass-action principle ((neruology) the principle that the cortex of the brain operates as a coordinated system with large masses of neural tissue involved in all complex functioning)

localisation; localisation of function; localisation principle; localization; localization of function; localization principle ((physiology) the principle that specific functions have relatively circumscribed locations in some particular part or organ of the body)

principle of equivalence ((physics) the principle that an observer has no way of distinguishing whether his laboratory is in a uniform gravitational field or is in an accelerated frame of reference)

law of parsimony; Occam's Razor; Ockham's Razor; principle of parsimony (the principle that entities should not be multiplied needlessly; the simplest of two competing theories is to be preferred)

Naegele's rule (rule for calculating an expected delivery date; subtract three months from the first day of the last menstrual period and add seven days to that date)

mass-energy equivalence ((physics) the principle that a measured quantity of mass is equivalent (according to relativity theory) to a measured quantity of energy)

Gresham's Law ((economics) the principle that when two kinds of money having the same denominational value are in circulation the intrinsically more valuable money will be hoarded and the money of lower intrinsic value will circulate more freely until the intrinsically more valuable money is driven out of circulation; bad money drives out good; credited to Sir Thomas Gresham)

Le Chatelier principle; Le Chatelier's law; Le Chatelier's principle; Le Chatelier-Braun principle (the principle that if any change is imposed on a system that is in equilibrium then the system tends to adjust to a new equilibrium counteracting the change)

Gestalt law of organization; Gestalt principle of organization (a principle of Gestalt psychology that identifies factors leading to particular forms of perceptual organization)


Sense 5principle [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Rule of personal conduct

Classified under:

Nouns denoting communicative processes and contents

Synonyms:

precept; principle

Hypernyms ("principle" is a kind of...):

prescript; rule (prescribed guide for conduct or action)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "principle"):

higher law (a principle that takes precedent over the laws of society)

moral principle (the principle that conduct should be moral)

hypothetical imperative (a principle stating the action required to attain a desired goal)

caveat emptor (a commercial principle that without a warranty the buyer takes upon himself the risk of quality)

Holonyms ("principle" is a part of...):

ethic; ethical code (a system of principles governing morality and acceptable conduct)


Sense 6principle [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

(law) an explanation of the fundamental reasons (especially an explanation of the working of some device in terms of laws of nature)

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents

Synonyms:

rationale; principle

Context examples:

the rationale for capital punishment / the principles of internal-combustion engines

Hypernyms ("principle" is a kind of...):

explanation (thought that makes something comprehensible)

Domain category:

jurisprudence; law (the collection of rules imposed by authority)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "principle"):

dialectics (a rationale for dialectical materialism based on change through the conflict of opposing forces)


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