foun·​da·​tion | \ fau̇n-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce foundation (audio) \

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

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Other Words from foundation

foundationless \ fau̇n-​ˈdā-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce foundation (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In this climate, the Rockefeller Foundation convened a fateful October meeting of public health leaders, foundation members, and physicians to envision a modern public health curriculum. Fortune, "Health care’s ‘rabbit and duck’ problem: the gap between public health and medicine," 14 May 2021 This contributor’s charitable foundation supports the Endless Frontier Labs. Liz Elting, Forbes, "We Need More Women Founders, Now, More Than Ever," 13 May 2021 Buying a house with an issue, such as major foundation problems. Dallas News, "The benefits of using a real estate attorney when buying a house," 13 May 2021 In October, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported on Cirne’s charitable giving through his family’s private, $140 million foundation. oregonlive, "New Relic, one of Portland’s biggest tech employers, names new CEO after tumultuous year," 13 May 2021 Meanwhile, the church has formed its third stake in the Cape Coast metropolitan area of Ghana, the foundation notes. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Latest from Mormon Land: President Russell Nelson’s grave marker includes a temple surprise," 13 May 2021 Except there's an additional foundation underneath, a sensor, and an air compressor. Chiara Vercellone, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Japanese firm's technology allows houses to rise off ground, avoid earthquake damage," 12 May 2021 Our Housing Future study from the foundation projects 80,000 households collectively will move to Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville by 2040. Stacy Ryburn, Arkansas Online, "$2 million grant to spur mixed-income neighborhood development in Northwest Arkansas," 12 May 2021 The same office succeeded in shutting down the troubled charitable foundation started by former President Donald J. Trump. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "In Rebuke to N.R.A., Federal Judge Dismisses Bankruptcy Case," 11 May 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for foundation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for foundation

Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Foundation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce foundation (audio) \

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

Comments on foundation

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