Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “first principles”

See all translations

first principles

noun [plural] uk   UK us  
the basic and most important reasons for doing or believing something: We seem to have forgotten why we're fighting this campaign - we really need to return to first principles.
Translations of “first principles”
in Chinese (Traditional) 根本原則,首要原則…
in Chinese (Simplified) 根本原则,首要原则…
(Definition of first principles from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of first principles?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

cold snap

a short period of cold weather

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More