- according to personal rules for right conduct; as a matter of moral principle: He refused on principle to agree to the terms of the treaty.
- according to a fixed rule, method, or practice: He drank hot milk every night on principle.
Origin of principle
Synonyms for principle
Related Words for principleethic, foundation, doctrine, basis, truth, rule, proposition, precept, regulation, assumption, fundamental, convention, origin, dictum, form, dogma, prescript, canon, maxim, source
Examples from the Web for principle
Contemporary Examples of principle
But the qualities Mario Cuomo brought to public life—compassion, integrity, commitment to principle—remain in short supply today.President Cuomo Would’ve Been a Lion
January 2, 2015
Nixon said defending the two islands was “a matter of principle.”The World’s Toughest Political Quiz
December 31, 2014
If the noble experiment of American democracy is to mean anything, it is fidelity to the principle of freedom.The Sony Hack and America’s Craven Capitulation To Terror
December 19, 2014
Let the record show that espousing principles is common; acting on principle is rare.Justice Ginsburg Shouldn’t Quit Just Yet
December 1, 2014
The principle that outsiders should be welcomed and provided for was a cross-cultural theme in ancient cultures.Pope Bids Refugees to EU ‘Bienvenido’; Europe Says ‘Non’
November 30, 2014
Historical Examples of principle
As respects our House of Representatives, it would in principle be the same.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
It was easily done, and without any cost or sacrifice of principle.
The principle involved in this effort is that of conservation.
But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.
The duties were to be reduced and the system improved, but the principle was to be maintained.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
Word Origin for principle
late 14c., "origin, source, beginning; rule of conduct; axiom, basic assumption; elemental aspect of a craft or discipline," from Anglo-French principle, Old French principe "origin, cause, principle," from Latin principium (plural principia) "a beginning, commencement, origin, first part," in plural "foundation, elements," from princeps (see prince). Used absolutely for (good or moral) principle from 1650s.
It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. [Adlai Stevenson, speech, New York City, Aug. 27, 1952]
Scientific sense of "general law of nature" is recorded from 1802. The English -l- apparently is by analogy of participle, etc.
see in principle; on principle.