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

Our builder poured our foundation 18 inches closer to the trunk than he was supposed to. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "Nutsedge or other nuisance? How to tell the difference," 13 July 2018 But in Tuscany, your lowest gear is your foundation. Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Guided bike trip through hills of Tuscany offers unforgettable vistas and lessons," 10 July 2018 Two Brothers Brewing Company has built their foundation on customer service and creating a passion for craft beer. Rachel Scaman, Aurora Beacon-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora," 5 July 2018 His foundation runs literacy programs in Windsor and the Washington, D.C. area. Dennis Hohenberger, Courant Community, "Chris Baker Visits Bart's Drive-In," 3 July 2018 Paveena, founder and chairwoman of her own foundation, said that any young child asked by her parents to get married would agree out of filial devotion. Eileen Ng, The Seattle Times, "Malaysia investigates marriage of man to 11-year-old girl," 2 July 2018 Bill Gates is also credited with delivering a Washington state charter school law through campaign contributions and his foundation’s support of the movement. Washington Post, "Barbs for Bezos but Bill Gates largely admired in Seattle," 30 June 2018 Widely considered the oldest houses built by African Americans in Connecticut, the Freeman Houses, part of the city’s Little Liberia neighborhood and built before the state abolished slavery, still stand on their original foundation. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "National Trust’s List of 11 Most Endangered Places includes Route 66, Mount Vernon," 26 June 2018 University of Louisville and its foundation are suing former President James Ramsey and others in a bid to recover millions. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "James Ramsey wants court to dismiss University of Louisville's lawsuit," 21 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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Phrases Related to foundation

lay a/the foundation

lay the groundwork/foundation

Statistics for foundation

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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