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

There is no sign that Kim Jong Un is contemplating what nuclear experts say has to be the first step: a full disclosure of his weapons program, to create a baseline for future inspection and verification, fundamental to any arms-control agreement. NBC News, "North Korea shatters Trump's boastful assurances of an easy path to denuclearization," 7 July 2018 While there are fundamental reasons for all these stocks to be down, there could still be opportunity here for bargain hunters. Aaron Back, WSJ, "How to Profit From the Christmas Market Rout," 24 Dec. 2018 Due to my conviction that dissent is fundamental to functioning democracies, I am forced to resign in order to avoid contributing to, or profiting from, the erosion of protection for dissidents. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Stop calling Facebook’s effort to fix itself an “arms race”," 14 Sep. 2018 Lighting is fundamental in creating an inviting atmosphere. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "5 Restaurant Design Trends Making Their Way Into Your Home Now," 17 Aug. 2018 The fundamental reason the United States did not qualify for this latest edition of the World Cup isn't one of expense, although that's a pathetically large factor, but rather one of spontaneity. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Soccer's other problem aside from being a 'rich white kids sport'," 5 July 2018 That’s a fundamental reason the two are the alpha and omega of online streaming: neatly organized television-length (and TV-quality) programs versus an endless babel of mostly short bursts of video. Mike Hale, New York Times, "On Paid YouTube, Sci-Fi Comedy and the Grown-Up Karate Kid," 29 May 2018 However, the large tumor and the damage from its treatment prevented him from being able to do one of the most fundamental things humans do. Neil Steinberg, CNN, "How far would you go to be able to smile?," 13 June 2018 The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Gave a Powerful Speech About Feminism in New Zealand," 28 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The fundamentals of the race are strongly in Baldwin’s favor. Dylan Scott, Vox, "A vicious Senate primary is hurting Republicans in Wisconsin," 10 Aug. 2018 The underlying fundamentals in terms of economic growth, earnings, has been extraordinarily good.’’ Easing geopolitical tensions aided gains in Asian stocks, with Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un set for their landmark meeting in Singapore on June 12. Sarah Ponczek, BostonGlobe.com, "Stocks post winning week as dollar steadies," 11 May 2018 Previously, testing the RemoveDEBRIS system has meant checking out its fundamentals—using a net to simulate a capture, using onboard LIDAR and optical camera systems to identify space junk. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a Space Junk Harpoon Complete a Successful Test Shot," 15 Feb. 2019 Instead, much rests on the fundamentals of the global economy, which in turn depend to a big extent on the U.S.-China trade war and on central banks. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Investors Go From Overoptimistic to Sort of Pessimistic," 21 Jan. 2019 But in districts that were as competitive or more competitive than NY-27, candidates with scandal issues underperformed their fundamentals by an average of almost 13 points. Fox News Staff, Fox News, "On scandals and elections in the era of Trump," 9 Aug. 2018 His only coaching qualifications are a backyard apprenticeship tutoring his niece and her friends, along with a course in soccer fundamentals. Matt Blomberg, latimes.com, "There's a reason that the soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand was so tough and resilient," 11 July 2018 Tomey, a Pac-10 coach of the year for the Wildcats, was emphasizing the importance of teaching players fundamentals. Clevis Murray, azcentral, "ASU's Herm Edwards shares positive message with coaches, athletes," 11 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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Statistics for fundamental

Last Updated

14 Apr 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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