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

Prepare to have your world rocked to its very foundations., "8 Champions League Players Whose Names You Have Definitely Been Pronouncing Wrong," 16 Sep. 2019 The financier, who did not attend Harvard, had long cultivated powerful and wealthy figures and gave generously to such institutions as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology personally and through his foundation. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Harvard says Epstein's $9M donations came before his 2008 guilty plea on sex charges," 13 Sep. 2019 By Obama’s first election in 2008, the small mill towns and quaint tobacco farming communities were then just small, factoryless towns and not-so-quaint communities, their economic foundations shipped overseas. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "North Carolina Sends Democrats a Wake-Up Call," 12 Sep. 2019 And watching them get done up backstage is always fun—their foundation, eyeliner, and lip gloss being applied with precision. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "These Beautiful Male Models Brought The Eye Candy To New York Fashion Week," 12 Sep. 2019 Residents say the storm surge topped 30 feet in some places and tore whole houses off their foundations. Patrick Oppmann, Jaide Timm-garcia And Jose Armijo, CNN, "'Grand Bahama is dead': A firsthand look at Dorian's destruction," 9 Sep. 2019 Emmanuel Nelson, a 46-year-old tradesman, sat on the stoop of a house blown off its foundation. Author: Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, "In the Bahamas, anguished hurricane survivors await relief amid the bodies," 6 Sep. 2019 The ocean swelled up to push houses off their foundation, overturn cars, and sweep away everything in its path. Samantha Montano, Teen Vogue, "What You Can Do To Help Hurricane Victims Right Now," 4 Sep. 2019 Since the building was constructed as a two-story structure, experts believe its foundation was laid at least two feet below the 1700s ground surface to support the walls. Scott Huddleston,, "Early mission-era artifact unearthed in downtown San Antonio at Alamo," 30 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for foundation

Last Updated

20 Oct 2019

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 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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