fundamental

adjective
fun·​da·​men·​tal | \ˌfən-də-ˈmen-tᵊl \

Definition of fundamental 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function : basic Responsibility is fundamental to democracy. The Constitution ensures our fundamental rights.

b : serving as an original or generating source : primary a discovery fundamental to modern computers

2a : of or relating to essential structure, function, or facts : radical fundamental change also : of or dealing with general principles rather than practical application fundamental science

b : adhering to fundamentalism a preacher who is evangelical, Bible-teaching, and fundamental

3 : of central importance : principal fundamental purpose such fundamental events as birth, marriage, and death

4 : belonging to one's innate or ingrained characteristics : deep-rooted her fundamental good humor

5 : of, relating to, or produced by the lowest component of a complex vibration (see vibration sense 1)

fundamental

noun

Definition of fundamental (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something fundamental especially : one of the minimum constituents without which a thing or a system would not be what it is

2a : the principal musical tone produced by vibration (as of a string or column of air) on which a series of higher harmonics is based

b : the root of a chord

3 : the harmonic component of a complex wave that has the lowest frequency and commonly the greatest amplitude

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Other Words from fundamental

Adjective

fundamentally \ ˌfən-​də-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for fundamental

Synonyms: Adjective

basal, basic, beginning, elemental, elementary, essential, introductory, rudimentary, underlying

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for fundamental

Adjective

essential, fundamental, vital, cardinal mean so important as to be indispensable. essential implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character. conflict is essential in drama fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse. fundamental principles of algebra vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation. cut off from vital supplies cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends. a cardinal rule in buying a home

Examples of fundamental in a Sentence

Adjective

The Constitution ensures our fundamental rights. There's a fundamental difference between these two political parties. These ideas are of fundamental importance. The revolution brought about a fundamental change in the country. We need to make some fundamental changes in the way we do business. We need to address these problems on a more fundamental level.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But the problem is more fundamental: The U.S. arms-sale regime needs to be recalibrated to protect American influence in a highly competitive geopolitical environment. Alexander Benard, WSJ, "America Needs to Sell More Weapons," 1 July 2018 Nothing could be more fundamental to the notion of liberty,’’ the justices wrote. David Pitt, BostonGlobe.com, "Iowa court blocks 72-hour waiting period for abortion," 29 June 2018 The Iowa Supreme Court has recognized privacy as a fundamental right in previous cases. CBS News, "Iowa court blocks 72-hour waiting period for abortions," 29 June 2018 Yet because its causes are so fundamental, the relief would be temporary. The Economist, "The primeval tribalism of American politics," 24 May 2018 Doyle, a professor of river science and policy at Duke, makes the case that rivers have in fact been fundamental to the shaping of American government. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Can Rivers Be People Too?," 9 May 2018 For this edition, he’ll be joined on stage by local sci-fi author Nalo Hopkinson for a night of storytelling, answering audience questions, and celebrating why reading is still fundamental in busy, complicated, tech-saturated times. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Best Things to Do in L.A. This Week," 30 Apr. 2018 People who drink and people who don’t drink may be different in fundamental ways besides their alcohol consumption habits, and these differences may warp the results of the observational studies. Julia Belluz, Vox, "The alcohol industry gave the government money to prove moderate drinking is safe," 15 June 2018 In fundamental ways, North Korea is beginning to change. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "Reporter’s notebook: Covering North Korea, daring to hope for change.," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Clifford and Orlando’s assistant coaches spent those precious hours at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion hammering home a combination of basic fundamentals and little details. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Mo Bamba enjoys new reality: He's an NBA player now," 3 July 2018 The beginners can focus on many of the basic fundamentals and the advanced players can continue honing their skills. Charles Rich, latimes.com, "Skills get sharpened at Spartan Basketball Camp," 27 June 2018 The new GW Politics Poll suggests that many of those fundamentals remain the same. John Sides, Washington Post, "New election poll shows Democratic voters are more engaged and Democratic House incumbents more popular," 13 June 2018 The irritation served as the latest test for a manager who came to town with a lot of fundamentals to clean up. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Tigers' Ron Gardenhire blasts pitchers' lazy play: 'Not acceptable'," 18 Mar. 2018 Participants will learn fundamentals, including passing, spiking and serving. From Staff Reports, latimes.com, "Sports Briefs: Pro wrestling documentary drops Thursday in Burbank," 11 July 2018 The fundamentals are, one, that economic story of like H-1B workers represent less but more control for companies. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Fog Creek Software CEO Anil Dash answers all the questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 8 July 2018 There is an urgent scientific effort underway to solve the mystery of Alzheimer’s, but many are still unclear on its fundamentals. Denise C. Park, sandiegouniontribune.com, "5 myths about Alzheimer's disease," 18 June 2018 The league will teach the fundamentals of football without tackling or blocking, and some games will be held under the lights on one of the park district’s synthetic turf fields. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, "Naperville News Digest," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fundamental.' 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 fundamental

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Noun

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fundamental

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Late Latin fundāmentālis "serving as a foundation," from Latin fundāmentum "foundation, basis" + -ālis -al entry 1 — more at fundament

Noun

derivative of fundamental entry 1

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Last Updated

27 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for fundamental

The first known use of fundamental was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for fundamental

fundamental

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of fundamental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: forming or relating to the most important part of something

: of or relating to the basic structure or function of something

fundamental

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fundamental (Entry 2 of 2)

: one of the basic and important parts of something : a fundamental part

fundamental

adjective
fun·​da·​men·​tal | \ˌfən-də-ˈmen-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of fundamental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: being or forming a foundation : basic, essential The discovery was fundamental to science. our fundamental rights

Other Words from fundamental

fundamentally adverb

fundamental

noun

Kids Definition of fundamental (Entry 2 of 2)

: a basic part the fundamentals of arithmetic

fundamental

noun
fun·​da·​men·​tal | \ˌfən-də-ˈment-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of fundamental 

: the principal musical tone produced by vibration (as of a string or column of air) on which a series of higher overtones is based

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