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[prin-suh-puh-lee, -sip-lee] /ˈprɪn sə pə li, -sɪp li/
chiefly; mainly.
Origin of principally
Middle English word dating back to 1300-50; See origin at principal, -ly
primarily. See especially. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for principally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I landed twice in this way, but the danger was principally in the first affair.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The giver and the accepter are principally answerable in an unjust donation.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • I am told that these people now on board are principally from the South of England?

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • Education was principally for those who expected to become priests or monks.

    Introductory American History Henry Eldridge Bourne
  • During the collation the conversation was principally military.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
British Dictionary definitions for principally


mainly or most importantly
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
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Word Origin and History for principally

mid-14c., "mostly, mainly; most importantly," from principal (adj.) + -ly (2). Late 14c. as "first of all." Meaning "for the most part" attested by 1832.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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