Definition of fundamental in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌfəndəˈmen(t)əl/


1Forming a necessary base or core; of central importance: the protection of fundamental human rights interpretation of evidence is fundamental to the historian’s craft
More example sentences
  • This is fundamental to human rights and the application of international law.
  • Freedom of belief (note the Western turn of phrase) is fundamental to human rights, and it was Islam that first proclaimed this value.
  • Some of my concerns are fairly fundamental to the voting process and the secrecy of voting.
primary, prime, cardinal, first, principal, chief, key, central, vital, essential, important, indispensable, necessary, crucial, pivotal, critical;
structural, organic, constitutional, inherent, intrinsic
1.1Affecting or relating to the essential nature of something or the crucial point about an issue: the fundamental problem remains that of the housing shortage
More example sentences
  • A lot has changed environ-mentally since then, he added, but fundamental issues and human nature have remained the same.
  • Being able to go car shopping the way the majority of the population goes fruit shopping means that there are certain fundamental issues affecting this majority that these rulers know of only in theory.
  • And having achieved his narrow victory, the famous flip-flop on fundamental issues was second nature to Vajpayee.
1.2So basic as to be hard to alter, resolve, or overcome: the theories are based on a fundamental error
More example sentences
  • In doing so, he has never tried to resolve the fundamental difference of opinion between the opposing wings of his party.
  • He becomes an of people, and this is a very basic fundamental error.
  • This fear is so fundamental that it overcame other basic Australian traits - compassion, a helping hand, a fair go.


(usually fundamentals)
1A central or primary rule or principle on which something is based: two courses cover the fundamentals of microbiology
More example sentences
  • Islam's fundamentals are based on some eternal truths that can easily cope with peripheral polarities.
  • The young ladies were taught much more than fundamentals, rules and regulations of the game.
  • Because all that we say and all that we do is based on those fundamentals.
basics, essentials, rudiments, foundations, basic principles, first principles, preliminaries;
crux, crux of the matter, heart of the matter, essence, core, heart, base, bedrock
1.1A fundamental note, tone, or frequency.
Example sentences
  • The beating between adjacent harmonics causes the brain to ‘hear’ the non-existent fundamental.
  • In the Hammond organ, the fundamental and up to eight harmonics were available and were controlled by means of drawbars and preset keys or buttons.
  • The standing wave with the longest wavelength is called the fundamental; the overtone number keeps count of the number of half-wavelengths.



Pronunciation: /ˌfəndəmənˈtalətē/
Example sentences
  • For a court intent on denying the fundamentality of a claimed right, it is always possible to read the prior cases narrowly - and to define the newly claimed right so narrowly that it looks ridiculous.
  • Joan of Arc, I believe, was a revolutionary leader whose tragic end is a further affirmation of the fundamentality of the causes she championed.
  • This is exactly where the fundamentality of symmetry fails and is limited by our practical calculation.


Late Middle English: from French fondamental, or late Latin fundamentalis, from Latin fundamentum, from fundare 'to found'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fun·da·men·tal

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