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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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 That said, Americans by 55%-24% believe the attack that took his life has made the United States less safe, rejecting a fundamental argument the Trump administration has made. Susan Page, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: Americans say Soleimani's killing made US less safe, Trump 'reckless' on Iran," 9 Jan. 2020 Maybe that’s always been a fundamental paradox of parenting. Tori Truscheit, Glamour, "How to Raise a Child at the End of the World," 8 Jan. 2020 The fundamental economic factor is the unrelenting competition for market share and the need for individual companies to grow their audience of potential customers for products ranging from designer dresses to lipstick. National Geographic, "The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, it’s more inclusive than ever.," 7 Jan. 2020 There, mass breaks down to its most fundamental state: quantum particles. Maria Paula Rubiano, Popular Science, "What would happen if you fell into a black hole?," 2 Jan. 2020 Sadly, the structure of our system that forces choices like this disrespects the dignity and human rights of those who do the fundamental work that keeps our society running. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Governor’s pardon isn’t a miracle — it’s a first step (12/28/19)," 29 Dec. 2019 In particular, physicists had hoped the experiment would refute one fundamental assumption of general relativity: that the laws of gravity are the same for all objects, regardless of their location, speed, and orientation. Sophia Chen, Wired, "How the Extreme Art of Dropping Stuff Could Upend Physics," 2 Jan. 2020 Superstar soccer manager Rafael Benitez, who made an unlikely move to China last summer to take charge of the Dalian Yifang club, may be learning the fundamental lesson of Chinese business: Real estate runs the show. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Everything Is a Chinese Real Estate Play: International Soccer Edition," 2 Jan. 2020 Those who align themselves against such hatred often share the fundamental belief that people acting peacefully and in accord with their faith are pursuing connection to a higher power, and doing so as honest seekers. The Christian Science Monitor, "High in the saddle during low tide," 31 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His understanding of fundamentals and development and spacing should help any player at any level. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Michigan basketball coach John Beilein struggling to find his way in NBA with Cavs," 9 Jan. 2020 Each of Bowlin’s programs are centered on similar pillars: fundamentals and work ethic. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "St. Paul native Pat Bowlin keeps racking up wins, one sport after another, at Winona Cotter," 6 Dec. 2019 The group of participants, which included both men and women of all ability levels, were also split up into smaller groups on each court during the event while working on fundamentals and techniques with each tennis professional. Alex Kushel, sun-sentinel.com, "Annual Play with the Pros tennis event continues to help local enthusiasts," 6 Dec. 2019 But at this level, proper technique and fundamentals are imperative. Brian Murphy, orlandosentinel.com, "UCF freshman Tre’Mon Morris-Brash backs up hype with productive season," 21 Nov. 2019 Morgan Scalley is getting them in the right spots and right locations and his staff is doing a great job with fundamentals and technique. Eric Olson, chicagotribune.com, "TDs hard to come by lately for visitors to Utah," 18 Nov. 2019 To prep for this eight-week journey through baking fundamentals and classic recipes, Joy is sharing her rules of engagement for baking. Joy Wilson, Washington Post, "Joy the Baker’s rules of engagement for Voraciously’s Baking Basics newsletter," 19 Sep. 2019 The team is seeing a more gap sound group, better fundamentals and, just as important, in-game adjustments from Steve Spagnuolo’s staff. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Brown’s Week in Foxboro Isn’t Surprising, Stay Tuned to Ramsey’s Request, More Notes," 16 Sep. 2019 Every Protestant is indebted to him for the fundamentals of their faith, and more than 80 million of them—close to ten million in the US—identify specifically as Lutherans. Eamon Duffy, The New York Review of Books, "The World Split in Two," 18 Apr. 2019

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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Time Traveler for fundamental

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fundamental

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fundamental.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fundamental. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for fundamental

fundamental

adjective
How to pronounce fundamental (audio)

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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