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

Network security is national security, and communications infrastructure, unlike commodities or even consumer technology, is a pervasive and fundamental backbone for our society and economy. Geoffrey Starks, The Mercury News, "Opinion: The security necessity for U.S. innovation in 5G networks," 12 Sep. 2019 The first neutron star merger observed by LIGO and Virgo, meanwhile, has helped researchers probe some fundamental aspects of the universe itself. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "The Gravitational-Wave “Revolution” Is Underway," 12 Sep. 2019 But the speaker added that there is a fundamental disagreement between Dalio Philanthropies and legislative leaders on the degree of public access that should be guaranteed. Keith M. Phanuef, courant.com, "Lawmakers balk at being excluded from decision-making in education partnership," 11 Sep. 2019 Gochujang, a fundamental ingredient in Korean cooking, is a thick and spicy-sweet crimson paste made from red chile pepper flakes, glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), fermented soybeans, and salt. Christina Chaey, Bon Appétit, "What is Gochujang, The Little Red Tub We Keep in Arm's Reach?," 10 Sep. 2019 Probability in such models is fundamental and objective. Quanta Magazine, "Where Quantum Probability Comes From," 9 Sep. 2019 These are fundamental and defining issues for every American and every human being. Ian Silverii, The Denver Post, "Silverii: Colorado GOP leaders really just rallied in support of cruelty and detention," 6 Sep. 2019 Breaking down the evolution of a tennis fundamental, and the ways that stars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Madison Keys make the move their own. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Consider the Forehand," 4 Sep. 2019 The failings of our prosecutorial, probation, parole, and mental-health systems are fundamental and in some cases catastrophic. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "How to Spot a Serious Gun-Crime Proposal," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The leagues will experiment with new ways to coach fundamentals in practice, aiming to hone skills while cutting down on full-speed contract that ends with players going to the ground. Larry Lage, The Denver Post, "USA Football pilots development model to reimagine the sport," 15 Aug. 2019 Students learn the fundamentals of the Korean martial art, which features high, jumping and spinning kicks. Lilly Nguyen, Daily Pilot, "Taekwondo summer camp kicks its way into Costa Mesa," 24 July 2019 Conventional wisdom dictates that a reserve currency has to be freely floating, allowing its value to be determined by market forces and not by government policy, which could change on a whim and not in line with trading fundamentals. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump want a weaker US dollar. That could backfire," 6 June 2019 For years and years, the Cardinals have won with impeccable fundamentals. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "The Royal Way back: How Dayton Moore intends to build his second championship team | The Kansas City Star," 21 Mar. 2018 How they are stopped Firefighters battle blazes by depriving them of one or more of the fire triangle fundamentals. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Wildfires, explained," 11 Aug. 2019 So all of that, underlying fundamentals for the consumer spending part of the economy . . . Washington Post, "U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs and the unemployment rate is 3.7%.," 5 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter Yet beneath the lofty aims, Labour would preserve many of the fundamentals of Britain’s foreign policy. The Economist, "The Corbyn doctrine on foreign policy," 6 June 2019 Does this reflect a poor understanding of economic fundamentals or the protection of wealthy property owners at the expense of the working class in California? WSJ, "More Housing Would Mean Cheaper Housing," 25 Jan. 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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Statistics for fundamental

Last Updated

17 Sep 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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