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[prin-sip-ee-uh m]
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noun, plural prin·cip·i·a [prin-sip-ee-uh] /prɪnˈsɪp i ə/.
  1. a principle.
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Origin of principium

1575–85; < Latin prīncipium literally, that which is first, equivalent to prīncip- (see prince) + -ium -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for principia

Historical Examples

  • All these discoveries were brought together in that immortal work, Newton's "Principia."

    Great Astronomers

    R. S. Ball

  • Descartes' Principia and his Meditationes were written in Latin.

  • When Newton heard of it he began the Principia, working in silence.

  • It was by this continuous application that the Principia was accomplished.

  • No sooner was the Principia put than Hooke put in his claims for priority.

British Dictionary definitions for principia


noun plural -ia (-ɪə)
  1. (usually plural) a principle, esp a fundamental one
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Word Origin

C17: Latin: an origin, beginning
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 principia


"fundamental principles," plural of Latin principium "beginning, origin" (see principle (n.)). Especially as the short form of the title of Newton's book (published 1687).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper