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principle noun

1 basic general rule

ADJ. basic, broad, central, fundamental, general the basic principles of car maintenance | cardinal, essential, key | universal | democratic, legal, market, political, scientific, theoretical

VERB + PRINCIPLE establish, formulate, lay down | apply | explain

PRINCIPLE + VERB apply This principle applies to all kinds of selling. | underlie sth, underpin sth the principles underlying Western philosophy

PREP. in ~ I agree with you in principle, but we'll need to discuss the details. | ~ behind She went on to explain the principles behind what she was doing.

2 rule for good behaviour

ADJ. high | guiding | Christian | moral He was a man of high moral principles.

VERB + PRINCIPLE betray, compromise I refuse to compromise my principles by eating meat. | adhere to, stick to She sticks to the principle that everyone should be treated equally.

PREP. against your ~s Eating meat was against her principles. | on ~ She's opposed to abortion on principle.

PHRASES a matter of principle They reject the proposal as a matter of principle. | a person of principle (= a person with high moral standards)