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English definition of “principle”

principle

noun uk   /ˈprɪn.sɪ.pl̩/ us  

principle noun (IDEA)

C1 [C] a basic idea or rule that explains or controls how something happens or works: the principles of the criminal justice system The country is run on socialist principles. The machine works according to the principle of electromagnetic conduction. The organization works on the principle that all members have the same rights. in principle C2 If you agree with or believe something in principle, you agree with the idea in general, although you might not support it in reality or in every situation: In principle I agree with the idea, but in practice it's not always possible. They have approved the changes in principle.

principle noun (RULE)

C2 [C or U] approving a moral rule or standard of good behaviour: She doesn't have any principles. He was a man of principle. Anyway, I can't deceive him - it's against all my principles. I never gamble, as a matter of principle (= because I believe it is wrong). She'd never ask to borrow money, on principle.
(Definition of principle from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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