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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

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 This time, 29 teens along with Cunningham and nine other adults built a foundation for a community center on the grounds of a church. Steve Sadin,, "Deerfield mission group helps construct community center in Mexico," 9 July 2018 The rallies are expected to be modest, but organizers hope to lay a foundation for growth in coming years. Katie Zezima, Washington Post, "Conservative students speak out on gun rights, plan marches in 10 cities Saturday," 6 July 2018 MacPhail got a surprisingly large return for pitcher Eric Bedard that helped lay the foundation for the club’s 2012 turnaround and Duquette made several late deals and signings that led to three playoff appearances. Peter Schmuck,, "Schmuck: Orioles might be testing the law of diminishing returns with Machado," 3 July 2018 The Magic will begin their NBA Summer League schedule Friday, and Clifford and his coaches hope to use their team’s time in Nevada to set a foundation for training camp. Josh Robbins,, "Mo Bamba enjoys new reality: He's an NBA player now," 3 July 2018 Two reservoirs — Morse and Geist — lay the foundations for summer recreation and lend stunning backdrops to some of the most enviable waterfront properties in Central Indiana. Shelley Specchio, Indianapolis Star, "Discovering Indianapolis’ vibrant neighborhoods: Hamilton County," 29 June 2018 The first years of life are a critical period when a child is establishing the foundation for dietary habits and physical activity. Cynthia Lebron, Mph, miamiherald, "Your child wants chips. You want them to have fruit. Here's how to tackle that.," 27 June 2018 More: Pistons have foundation for instant success, says Ed Stefanski The goal to bring aboard young, promising talent remains. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Who's leading Detroit Pistons front office? Ed Stefanski - for now," 19 June 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.

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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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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for foundation

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

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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 \

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

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