foun·​da·​tion | \fau̇n-ˈdā-shən \

Definition of foundation 

1 : the act of founding here since the foundation of the school

2 : a basis (such as a tenet, principle, or axiom) upon which something stands or is supported the foundations of geometry the rumor is without foundation in fact

3a : funds given for the permanent support of an institution : endowment

b : an organization or institution established by endowment with provision for future maintenance a trust administered by a foundation

4 : an underlying base or support especially : the whole masonry substructure of a building

5a : a body or ground upon which something is built up or overlaid a limestone foundation

b : a woman's supporting undergarment : corset

c : a cosmetic usually used as a base for makeup

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from foundation

foundational \fau̇n-​ˈdā-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
foundationally adverb
foundationless \fau̇n-​ˈdā-​shən-​ləs \ adjective

Examples of foundation in a Sentence

The inspector discovered a crack in the house's foundation. The book explains the moral foundations on which her political career was built. These problems threaten the very foundations of modern society. The scandal has shaken the government to its foundations. They established a foundation to help orphaned children.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

While there are plenty of full-coverage foundations on the market that help to cover breakouts and dark spots, IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, $38, has become my new favorite. SELF, "This CC Cream Has Over 12K Customer Reviews on Ulta, and I’m Hooked," 24 Nov. 2018 This is not a problem with Scuf’s other controllers, which are all based on the DualShock foundation. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The Scuf Vantage reimagines the PS4 controller, but with some big flaws," 18 Oct. 2018 The foundation helps to facilitate donations from the community on behalf of the city’s police and fire departments. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Michigan fire department receives hundreds of donated pet oxygen masks," 2 Oct. 2018 Like the other working royals, Prince Andrew promotes charitable causes by attending engagements and serving as the patron of many foundations. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Get to Know Prince Andrew, the Father of Princess Eugenie and Beatrice," 13 Aug. 2018 Step 1: Perfect your canvas For an even base without layers of foundation, try a lightweight BB cream, says Hughes. Jennifer Tzeses, Seventeen, "3 Beauty Looks That Aren't Too Extra for Class," 25 July 2018 The Culling: Day One, Xaviant is starting over from the same foundation as last time and will see where development leads. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Star Citizen is sued by a backer, The Culling 2 is yanked from Steam and more," 20 July 2018 The foundation donated $20,000 to help expand Mill City Grows, a food justice organization for access and education in Lowell, according to a press release. Morgan Hughes,, "Curing the flu, wedding dresses for soldiers, and food for the elderly," 13 July 2018 Meanwhile, an interior green wall is designed to purify air and an exterior plant wall acts as a foundation for micro-farming. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tiny house from UN Environment and Yale raises the bar for eco-living," 11 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of foundation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foundation

Middle English fundacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French fundacion, borrowed from Latin fundātiōn-, fundātiō, from fundāre "to found entry 4" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about foundation

Share foundation

Statistics for foundation

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for foundation

The first known use of foundation was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for foundation



English Language Learners Definition of foundation

: a usually stone or concrete structure that supports a building from underneath

: something (such as an idea, a principle, or a fact) that provides support for something

: an organization that is created and supported with money that people give in order to do something that helps society


foun·​da·​tion | \fau̇n-ˈdā-shən \

Kids Definition of foundation

1 : the support upon which something rests the foundation of a building the foundations of our legal system

2 : the act of beginning or creating He has taught here since the school's foundation.



Legal Definition of foundation 

1 : a basis upon which something stands or is supported specifically : a witness's preliminary testimony given to identify or explain evidence being offered at trial and establish its connection to the issue for which it is offered the lack of any foundation for the orthopedic surgeon's familiarity with the…standard of care rendered the surgeon's opinion testimony inadmissible National Law Journal

Note: Before evidence can be admitted at trial, the foundation for it must be laid by the party offering it. A foundation must also be laid for the qualification of a witness as an expert, or for the assertion of a privilege.

2a : funds given for the permanent support of an institution : endowment

b : an organization or institution established by endowment with provision for future maintenance

Other Words from foundation

foundational adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on foundation

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


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!