fundamental

adjective
fun·​da·​men·​tal | \ ˌfən-də-ˈmen-tᵊl How to pronounce fundamental (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fundamentally (audio) \ adverb

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

The minimizing of the graphic animal cruelty offers little assurance of change in a culture that is likely in need of fundamental retooling. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Fair Oaks founder: Animal rights group's video 'goes against everything we stand for'," 5 June 2019 Beijing has spent years suppressing history and then revising it, though the spring of 1989 was fundamental to how modern China is wired. NBC News, "As the world commemorates Tiananmen Square, China is silent," 4 June 2019 Transparency and accountability are fundamental to the rule of law. Jason Rezaian, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: The State Department has been funding trolls. I’m one of their targets.," 4 June 2019 The public split and looming standoff over 5% tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico revealed a fundamental divergence in values between the president and his party. Lisa Mascaro, Time, "GOP Splits With President Trump as Senators Loudly Oppose Mexico Tariff Threat," 4 June 2019 The difference here, between an activity (doing) and an identity (being), is fundamental to the way capitalism forces us to participate with all of ourselves. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "How I Can Critique Capitalism — Even On an iPhone," 1 May 2019 Having high-quality connections and a need to belong are fundamental. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "Loneliness Reflects Quality of Relationships, Not Quantity," 26 Apr. 2019 But the fundamental notion of a light, responsive sports car remains unchanged. Car and Driver, "2019 10Best Cars," 28 Nov. 2018 This suggests there's a fundamental security problem to begin with. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Credit card skimmers now need to fear the Reaper," 15 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Participants will receive individual training in volleyball fundamentals and will learn the basics of team play. Phil Jensen, The Mercury News, "Sports Briefs," 6 June 2019 Running the bases hard and executing the fundamentals. Mark Didtler, The Seattle Times, "Jake Arrieta convinced Phillies are a playoff team," 25 Mar. 2019 In the book, Matthew reveals the secrets of the male mind and explains the fundamentals of dating. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Camila Cabello’s New Bae Matthew Hussey," 26 June 2018 On Wednesdays, my wife runs the beginner/initiate class, which teaches the fundamentals and involves a lot of drills and body conditioning. Lisa Deaderick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A master at wielding the lightsaber and teaching others the sport," 23 June 2018 The camps, which are offered for a variety of sports and skills, teach fundamentals while providing individual and group instruction for athletes ages 9 to 14. Susan Soldavin, Howard County Times, "River Hill junior wins election to Howard County Board of Education [Clarksville]," 10 May 2018 Sandor-Korte, a bow hunter, also sits on the board of directors for Ladies Hunting Camp, which will sponsor two Oregon sessions in July to teach women the fundamentals of hunting and caring for game meat. Bill Monroe, OregonLive.com, "10-year-old helps grandparents celebrate Mother's Day," 13 May 2018 But that doesn't happen if fundamentals are stressed at the line of scrimmage, and done so every day during practice. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Get open: Michigan football receivers work to fix greatest flaw," 18 Apr. 2018 In the beginning stages of designing a home, the fundamentals should be your timeless elements. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Joanna Gaines’ New Book 'Homebody' Reminds Us Why There’s No Place Like Home," 8 Nov. 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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Statistics for fundamental

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce fundamental (audio) \

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 How to pronounce fundamental (audio) \

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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Comments on fundamental

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