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 foundationless (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 The home features geothermal heating and cooling, and its foundation was intentionally designed to be smaller than the home to prevent disturbing the roots of the surrounding trees. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, "No, it’s not floating, but this three-bedroom Dallas home with windows everywhere gives that illusion," 11 July 2020 His foundation had to put on hold plans for two new residential treatment programs, realizing the health department likely couldn’t commit to acquiring a new site and funding it. Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, "Hoping for a chance to heal," 11 July 2020 That platform, which not only includes his foundation, but the 9,400 that follow him on Twitter and the countless others that just know his name, comes with some responsibility. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Jamon Brown using platform for activism during protests, COVID-19 pandemic in Louisville," 11 July 2020 Riggins hopes to expand his foundation in the coming months. Stefan Krajisnik, The Indianapolis Star, "After 2018 suicide attempt, A’Shon Riggins fights to defeat mental health stigma for others," 2 July 2020 From lightweight foundation to concealer pens, the innovative line helps to smooth, firm, and brighten with its hydrating, youth-enhancing ingredients. Erin Parker, Glamour, "14 Best 4th of July Sales in Beauty for 2020," 30 June 2020 The distinctive qualities of South Korean films can’t be untied from the distinctive qualities of South Korean history: its foundation by division, its compressed industrialization, its sudden social and political dislocations. Colin Marshall, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: The Best Movies in the Korean Film Archive," 17 June 2020 People of sincere faith who stand on God’s Word as their foundation for life should never be forced by the government to compromise their religious beliefs. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Franklin Graham slams Supreme Court gay and transgender ruling, arguing it ‘erodes religious freedoms across this country’," 16 June 2020 That excited me, and these were great sounds at their foundation…. Joey Nolfi,, "Lady Gaga's Chromatica team reveals the history and future of her new era," 12 June 2020

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

27 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Foundation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for foundation


How to pronounce foundation (audio)

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

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