U3A Principles

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plural noun: principles
  1. 1.
    a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.
    "the basic principles of justice"
    synonyms: truth, proposition, concept, idea, theory, postulate; More

    "the most elementary principles of physics"
  2. 2.
    a general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field.
    • a natural law forming the basis for the construction or working of a machine.
      "these machines all operate on the same general principle"
  3. 3.
    a fundamental source or basis of something.
    "the first principle of all things was water"
    • a fundamental quality determining the nature of something.
      "the combination of male and female principles"
    • Chemistry
      an active or characteristic constituent of a substance, obtained by simple analysis or separation.
      "the active principle of Spanish fly"


late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin principium ‘source’, principia (plural) ‘foundations’, from princeps, princip- ‘first, chief’.