[ fuhn-duh-men-tl ]
See synonyms for: fundamentalfundamentalsfundamentally 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.

  1. being an original or primary source: a fundamental idea.

  2. 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.

    • the root of a chord.

    • the generator of a series of harmonics.

  1. Physics. the component of lowest frequency in a composite wave.

Origin of fundamental

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Medieval Latin fundāmentālis “of, belonging to a foundation”; see fundament, -al1

Other words for fundamental

Other words from fundamental

  • fun·da·men·tal·i·ty, fun·da·men·tal·ness, noun
  • fun·da·men·tal·ly, adverb
  • non·fun·da·men·tal, adjective, noun
  • non·fun·da·men·tal·ly, adverb
  • un·fun·da·men·tal, adjective
  • un·fun·da·men·tal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use fundamental in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fundamental


/ (ˌfʌndəˈmɛntəl) /

  1. of, involving, or comprising a foundation; basic

  2. of, involving, or comprising a source; primary

  1. music denoting or relating to the principal or lowest note of a harmonic series

  2. 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

    • the principal or lowest note of a harmonic series

    • the bass note of a chord in root position

  1. Also called: fundamental frequency, first harmonic physics

    • the component of lowest frequency in a complex vibration

    • the frequency of this component

Derived forms of fundamental

  • fundamentality 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