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 This kind of comprehensive immune analyses at the individual patient level may help answer fundamental questions, such as the mechanisms of covid-19 disease, both acute and long-haul. Arkansas Online, "Help may come from long-haulers," 2 May 2021 The traditional principle was one share, one vote, which gave the putative owners of public corporations at least a theoretical voice in such fundamental issues as the election of directors and the pay of top executives. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: 100 CEOs met to discuss opposing anti-voting laws. Don’t expect them to do anything," 12 Apr. 2021 One of the most perplexing and enduring mysteries of the pandemic is also one of the most fundamental questions about viruses. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "Why the Coronavirus Can Infect Us Without Making Us Sick," 7 Apr. 2021 But the pandemic has transformed this patch of historically neutral ground into a playing field for some fundamental public health questions. Joanne Silberner, Anchorage Daily News, "Misgivings rise over U.S.-Canada neutral zone where border-crossing parties rendezvous and risk coronavirus transmission," 6 Apr. 2021 But the pandemic has transformed this patch of historically neutral ground into a playing field for some fundamental public health questions. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, "COVID-19 fears cast shadow over border park where Canada, Washington state meet," 2 Apr. 2021 Moving a brain — and the consciousness that goes with it — from one body to another brings up fundamental questions about our notions of the self, the definition of death and even the ethics of immortality. Washington Post, "Transplant an organ? Why not an entire body?," 5 Mar. 2021 Blinken also spoke about repressions against Uighurs in Xinjiang, suppression of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, the coup in Myanmar and human rights violations in North Korea. NBC News, "U.S. to seek election to United Nations Human Rights Council," 24 Feb. 2021 While investing based on fundamental changes within a company can make money, trading is a zero-sum game. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "14 Critical Lessons Investors Can Learn From The GameStop Story," 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The program teaches students the fundamental of electricity as well as the math and sciences needed to work on power lines. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "39 students graduate from Alabama Power, community college lineworker training program," 6 Apr. 2021 This has always been a timeless fundamental of marketing, but so much more evident now. Sarah Hofstetter, Forbes, "Toilet Paper To Athleisure: What’s A Fad And What Has Staying Power?," 17 Mar. 2021 Called Fleming's Left Hand Rule, this fundamental of electromagnetism states that the confluence of a magnetic field and an electric current passing through a fluid will cause the fluid to be propelled in one direction. Abe Dane, Popular Mechanics, "Remembering Jet Ships: The Futuristic 100-Knot Superboat That Never Was," 14 Jan. 2021 For a company of its size, that kind of a move is less a reflection of business fundamentals,... Laura Forman, WSJ, "Shopify’s Blurred Lines Are Hard to Hate," 26 May 2020 Investors should consider making pair trades, buying the cheaper and shorting the dearer of two materials that are linked to the same economic fundamentals, the strategists wrote. Gregor Stuart Hunter, Bloomberg.com, "Morgan Stanley Quants Map Out Trades for Turmoil Then Turnaround," 12 May 2020 When at its best, Golden State expertly exhibits the fundamentals of the game, pulling from the Harlem Globetrotters and Hickory High for an up-tempo style all its own. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Inside Vonteego Cummings’ bond with Warriors: ‘That’s my family for life’," 26 Apr. 2020 Braidy wanted students to learn the fundamentals of the main systems used in manufacturing plants, such as hydraulic and motor control systems, Tackett said. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Ashland college trains students to work at Braidy Industries' future aluminum mill," 23 Dec. 2019 With six teams in the coed division, ages 6-8, the focus is on learning the fundamentals and rules of the game. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Eagles soar to Cooper City Optimist Flag Football title over Dolphins," 12 Dec. 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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fundamental.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fundamental. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on fundamental

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