cor·​ner·​stone | \ ˈkȯr-nər-ˌstōn How to pronounce cornerstone (audio) \

Definition of cornerstone

1 : a stone forming a part of a corner or angle in a wall specifically : such a stone laid at a formal ceremony
2 : a basic element : foundation a cornerstone of foreign policy

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Examples of cornerstone in a Sentence

Officials held a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for a new library. Trust is the cornerstone of their relationship.
Recent Examples on the Web A century after its cornerstone had been laid, the building remained unfinished., "Rev. James Parks Morton, who expanded a cathedral’s identity, dies at 89," 8 Jan. 2020 Even a century after its cornerstone had been laid, the building was unfinished. New York Times, "James Parks Morton, Dean Who Brought a Cathedral to Life, Dies at 89," 7 Jan. 2020 Originally launched in 1969, the style is a cornerstone of the Adidas Originals brand. Maiya Carmichael, Essence, "Prada Debuts Limited Edition Adidas Drop," 26 Nov. 2019 For many adults — especially those who are older, those with other significant medical conditions, or those who are pregnant — vaccination should be a cornerstone of preventive health care. Sangini S. Sheth, STAT, "Adult vaccination saves lives. Why do so few adults get vaccinated?," 15 Nov. 2019 Captive elephants—some 3,800 of them—are a cornerstone of Thailand’s tourism industry. Kirsten Luce, National Geographic, "In this Thai village, life revolves around 300 captive elephants," 29 Oct. 2019 However, Gase now has the chance to mold Darnold, whom the Jets are hoping will be their cornerstone for at least the next decade. Si Wire,, "Bills vs. Jets Live Stream, TV Channel: How to Watch NFL Week 1 Online," 8 Sep. 2019 The Chinese plant represents a cornerstone of Chief Executive Officer Musk’s plans to make Tesla a truly global carmaker. Fortune, "Tesla Just Delivered Its First China-Built Cars in Shanghai," 30 Dec. 2019 Marrone also wasn’t pleased that Coughlin dealt Ramsey, a mercurial-but-talented player who was supposed to be a cornerstone of the franchise, to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this year after multiple flareups between the player and the VP. Mark Long, The Denver Post, "Jaguars fire Tom Coughlin amid 3rd season, following NFLPA shot," 18 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cornerstone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cornerstone

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for cornerstone

Time Traveler

The first known use of cornerstone was in the 13th century

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Statistics for cornerstone

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cornerstone.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for cornerstone


How to pronounce cornerstone (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cornerstone

: a stone that forms part of a corner in the outside wall of a building and that often shows the date when the building was built
: something of basic importance

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Comments on cornerstone

What made you want to look up cornerstone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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