See more synonyms for fundamental on
  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

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for fundamentally

essentially, centrally, radically

Examples from the Web for fundamentally

Contemporary Examples of fundamentally

Historical Examples of fundamentally

British Dictionary definitions for fundamentally


  1. in a way that affects the basis or essentials; utterlythe terms of engagement have been fundamentally altered
  2. (sentence modifier) in essence; at heartfundamentally, we want our lives to be safe


  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 fundamentally

c.1600, from fundamental + -ly (2).



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