Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

cornerstone

[kawr-ner-stohn]
See more synonyms for cornerstone on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.
  2. a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies.
  3. something that is essential, indispensable, or basic: The cornerstone of democratic government is a free press.
  4. the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed: The cornerstone of his argument was that all people are created equal.
Show More

Origin of cornerstone

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at corner, stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cornerstone

mainstay, foundation, pillar, keystone, essential, linchpin, base, anchor, mainspring

Examples from the Web for cornerstone

Contemporary Examples of cornerstone

Historical Examples of cornerstone


British Dictionary definitions for cornerstone

cornerstone

noun
  1. a stone at the corner of a wall, uniting two intersecting walls; quoin
  2. a stone placed at the corner of a building during a ceremony to mark the start of construction
  3. a person or thing of prime importance; basisthe cornerstone of the whole argument
Show More
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

n.

late 13c., from corner (n.) + stone (n.). The figurative use is from early 14c.

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]
Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper