1. serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying: fundamental principles; the fundamental structure.
  2. of, relating to, or affecting the foundation or basis: a fundamental revision.
  3. being an original or primary source: a fundamental idea.
  4. Music. (of a chord) having its root as its lowest note.
  1. a basic principle, rule, law, or the like, that serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part: to master the fundamentals of a trade.
  2. Also called fundamental note, fundamental tone. Music.
    1. the root of a chord.
    2. the generator of a series of harmonics.
  3. Physics. the component of lowest frequency in a composite wave.

Origin of fundamental

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin fundāmentālis of, belonging to a foundation. See fundament, -al1
Related formsfun·da·men·tal·i·ty, fun·da·men·tal·ness, nounfun·da·men·tal·ly, adverbnon·fun·da·men·tal, adjective, nounnon·fun·da·men·tal·ly, adverbun·fun·da·men·tal, adjectiveun·fun·da·men·tal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for fundamental Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for fundamentality


  1. of, involving, or comprising a foundation; basic
  2. of, involving, or comprising a source; primary
  3. music denoting or relating to the principal or lowest note of a harmonic series
  4. of or concerned with the component of lowest frequency in a complex vibration
  1. a principle, law, etc, that serves as the basis of an idea or system
    1. the principal or lowest note of a harmonic series
    2. the bass note of a chord in root position
  2. Also called: fundamental frequency, first harmonic physics
    1. the component of lowest frequency in a complex vibration
    2. the frequency of this component
Derived Formsfundamentality or fundamentalness, noun
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 fundamentality



mid-15c., "primary, original, pertaining to a foundation," modeled on Late Latin fundamentalis "of the foundation," from Latin fundamentum "foundation" (see fundament). Fundamentals "primary principles or rules" of anything is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper