- a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.
- a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies.
- something that is essential, indispensable, or basic: The cornerstone of democratic government is a free press.
- the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed: The cornerstone of his argument was that all people are created equal.
Origin of cornerstone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cornerstone
Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, summed up the Southern attitude in his 1861 Cornerstone Speech.Steve Scalise Shows There’s a Fine Line Between Confederate & Southern
January 2, 2015
The cornerstone of our democracy is that justice is to be colorblind in its administration.As Michael Brown Grand Jury Winds Down, Is Ferguson on the Brink of War?
November 16, 2014
Giants are the cornerstone of the myths, legends, and traditions of almost every culture on Earth.Hunting for a Real-Life Hagrid
November 13, 2014
“Cornerstone Cellars barrels are lost within a collapsed barrel maze,” she shared.Cleaning Up From Napa's Winepocalypse
August 30, 2014
For the last several decades, the AHA has promoted a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet as a cornerstone of heart health.The Heart Association’s Junk Science Diet
Dr. Barbara H. Roberts
May 22, 2014
Honesty in thought, in word, in deed––this he would have as the cornerstone of his truth.The Book of Khalid
He went to lay the cornerstone of the proud edifice of his ambitions.The Historical Nights' Entertainment
The cornerstone was relaid, this time under the authority of the Masons.
Of these, the first is the cornerstone of the mental character of the advocate.
We built ours upon the bed rock, and its cornerstone is the home.The Battle with the Slum
Jacob A. Riis.
- a stone at the corner of a wall, uniting two intersecting walls; quoin
- a stone placed at the corner of a building during a ceremony to mark the start of construction
- a person or thing of prime importance; basisthe cornerstone of the whole argument
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for cornerstone
I endorse without reserve the much abused sentiment of Governor M'Duffie, that "Slavery is the corner-stone of our republican edifice;" while I repudiate, as ridiculously absurd, that much lauded but nowhere accredited dogma of Mr. Jefferson, that "all men are born equal." No society has ever yet existed, and I have already incidentally quoted the highest authority to show that none ever will exist, without a natural variety of classes. [James H. Hammond, "Letter to an English Abolitionist" 1845]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper