Origin of foundation

1350–1400; Middle English foundacioun < Latin fundātiōn- (stem of fundātiō), equivalent to fundāt(us) (past participle of fundāre; see found2) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsfoun·da·tion·al, adjectivefoun·da·tion·al·ly, adverbfoun·da·tion·ar·y, adjectivepre·foun·da·tion, noun

Synonyms for foundation

Synonym study

2. See base1.

Antonyms for foundation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for foundational

Contemporary Examples of foundational

Historical Examples of foundational

  • There are courses that are foundational and that must therefore be governed by an eclectic aim.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • Liberal education and all the values attached to it are the foundational matrix of the current system of general education.

  • Still more significant is the increased mechanical efficiency in the foundational industries.

  • It was this course that was looked forward to with the keenest curiosity as the foundational instruction given by the school.

    Foch the Man

    Clara E. Laughlin

  • His fortissimo chords have hitherto lacked the foundational power and splendour of d'Albert's, Busoni's, and Rosenthal's.

    Franz Liszt

    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for foundational



that on which something is founded; basis
(often plural) a construction below the ground that distributes the load of a building, wall, etc
the base on which something stands
the act of founding or establishing or the state of being founded or established
  1. an endowment or legacy for the perpetual support of an institution such as a school or hospital
  2. on the foundationentitled to benefit from the funds of a foundation
an institution supported by an endowment, often one that provides funds for charities, research, etc
the charter incorporating or establishing a society or institution and the statutes or rules governing its affairs
a cosmetic in cream or cake form used as a base for make-up
cards a card on which a sequence may be built
Derived Formsfoundational, adjectivefoundationally, adverbfoundationary, adjective
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 foundational

1680s, from foundation + -al (1).



late 14c., "action of founding," from Old French fondacion (14c.) or directly from Latin fundationem (nominative fundatio) "a founding," noun of action from past participle stem of fundare (see found (v.1)). The Latin word is glossed in Old English by staþol. Meaning "that which is founded" (a college, hospital, etc.) is from 1510s; meaning "funds endowed" is early 15c. Sense of "solid base of a structure" is from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

foundational in Medicine




The basis on which something stands or is supported; a base.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.