Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

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)
What is the pronunciation of principle?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “principle” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

bright spark

a person who is intelligent, and full of energy and enthusiasm

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More